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Cops Shop For New Cars After Ford Stops Making Crown Victoria
The Cap Times ^ | Thursday, January 14, 2010 | STEVEN ELBOW

Posted on 01/16/2010 6:15:13 AM PST by DogByte6RER

Cops shop for new cars after Ford stops making Crown Victoria

By STEVEN ELBOW

The Capital Times

Thursday, January 14, 2010 5:30 am

In the near future, you may not see that iconic Ford emblem you may have been unlucky enough to glimpse beneath the flashing red and blue lights in your rearview mirror. Local police are getting ready to move to new squad cars.

Ford announced last year that it’s ending production of the ubiquitous Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, which for nearly two decades has dominated the squad car market nationwide. The move will shake up the look of police car fleets as law enforcement agencies scramble to fill the gap.

Madison residents can expect to see several Dodge Chargers hit the road in February as police begin to explore their options. With their sleek design, the Chargers will be in stark contrast to the boxy fleet of Crown Vics.

“They’re definitely a sharp-looking car,” says Sgt. Eric Tripke of Madison’s traffic safety team.

While the department plans to keep an eye on the market and experiment with other models as they become available, there are few options in the short term.

“Right now, the only police package vehicle other than the Crown Victoria that’s out there that we thought would meet our needs is the Dodge Charger,” says Capt. Richard Bach, who heads up traffic services for the Madison Police Department.

That is likely to change as competition for the squad car market heats up.

Ford ended production of the consumer version of the Crown Victoria in 2007, and has been seeing increased competition in the police car market, leading to the decision to replace the aged workhorse with a new, yet-to-be-unveiled Police Interceptor in 2011.

The Dodge Charger is already scooping up market share while Chevrolet readies a revamped Caprice for a 2011 release. And newcomer Carbon Motors Corp. plans to produce the first car designed exclusively for police work, in 2012.

Carbon Motors’ futuristic cop car, now only a prototype, is generating a lot of buzz. It has a 300-horsepower clean diesel engine, an onboard voice-command computer with instant license plate recognition capability, shotgun mounts, an ergonomically designed driver’s seat that accommodates bulky utility belts and gun holsters, and even an option for detecting biological and radioactive weapons. It also reduces the ick factor that comes with transporting intoxicated passengers who tend to vomit or urinate inside the vehicle: it comes with a drain. And it is expected to have twice the estimated lifespan of the average police car.

The downside? The price, which is around $50,000. But Bach says the $21,500 Crown Vic actually costs about $46,000 by the time it’s outfitted with many of the accessories that will come standard with the Carbon Motors police car.

At just over $21,000 for a V-8 engine and $20,000 for a V-6, the prices of the Chargers are comparable with the Crown Victorias. The city has purchased its 10 new cars with a federal grant.

Whatever squad car Madison police officials pick for their entire fleet will be the successor to a long line of vehicles, which have included Ford Fairlanes, Plymouth Gran Furys and Dodge Diplomats as well as Chevy Impalas, Caprices and Novas, not all of them well-received by officers.

“I remember the Dodge Diplomats, and quite honestly they were a piece of junk,” Tripke says.

Bach says the department’s experiment a few years back with Ford Tauruses also was a failure, mainly because they were expensive to maintain. With the beating they took from officers hitting curbs, crossing medians and driving at high speeds, the front-wheel drive made for serious drive-train problems. Now, most law enforcement agencies will buy nothing but rear-wheel-drive squad cars.

Many departments, including those in New York City and Seattle, are experimenting with hybrids, both as patrol vehicles and for non-patrol officers such as command staff or detectives.

Monona Police Chief Walter Ostrenga went that route a year ago, buying a hybrid Toyota Camry for a detective’s use.

At more than $23,000, it was more than a Crown Victoria, but it gets 38 mpg in the city and Ostrenga says he hopes the car will last for 10 years. But he also says it isn’t suitable for patrol work because it’s not effective for high-speed pursuits.

“If we were just in the city and didn’t have to go out on the highway or the Beltline we might be able to pull it off,” he says.

With budget constraints in cities nationwide and uncertainty about the squad car market, many agencies have put off squad car purchases. But they can’t put them off for long.

Bach says the average lifespan of squad cars, which are driven hard and often run 24 hours a day, is three to four years. That means Madison’s entire fleet of about 120 pursuit-rated vehicles will change over by about 2013.

Facing similar circumstances, the Dane County Sheriff’s Office has already put five new Dodge Chargers in the hands of its traffic team, and so far deputies have given them a thumbs-up.

“I think it’s a great platform to work out of,” says Deputy Steve Mueller, who’s driven the model for about 18 months.

He says equipping the car was a challenge. A lot of police equipment, including things like passenger cages, shotgun mounts and radar mounts, were made specifically for Crown Vics, since they account for more than 75 percent of the police vehicle market. But once the equipment was in place, the Charger has performed well, displaying better handling and stability, not to mention comfort.

“Under performance situations, the car handles so well that it’s much easier to drive so we can concentrate more on the law enforcement duties we have to do and less on the driving,” he says. “It keeps us safer in that way.”

Despite the extra power of the hemi V-8 engine, Mueller says he’s seen about a 10 percent increase in fuel efficiency over the Crown Vic due to the fact that the hemi engines automatically shut down four cylinders when the car is idling, which is often.

But there are a couple of negatives. The passenger seat is cramped because police equipment situated in the center of the cab encroaches on it. It’s also more difficult to lock the car with the engine running. And there’s a delay when the car is put in reverse as the gears catch up, making it more time-consuming to make a Y-turn, which officers have to perform more often because the car has a wider turning radius than the Crown Vic.

Madison plans to put five Chargers on the road with V-6 engines and five with hemi V-8s. Tripke says that while he’s had the chance to drive one of the new cars, the traffic safety team is not included in the pilot project. The vehicles are being given to regular patrol officers because the department considers that a better indicator of how they will perform during typical use.

The V-8s are expected to have better durability and speed, which Tripke says is making some of his colleagues wish they were in the pilot project.

“There’s a lot of officers just itching to get behind the wheel of those Chargers, especially the hemis,” he says. “They’re going to be a good short-sprint vehicle.”


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: automakers; autos; carporn; cars; cops; crownvictoria; ford; fordmotor; leo; police; policecars
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I hope they (law enforcment agencies) don't ge stuck driving around in some crappy PC "Smart Car"...
1 posted on 01/16/2010 6:15:17 AM PST by DogByte6RER
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To: DogByte6RER

My locals drive Chargers ... that is one bad@$$ looking cop car...


2 posted on 01/16/2010 6:17:33 AM PST by Lurking in Kansas (Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down their level, then beat you with experience.)
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To: DogByte6RER
" don't ge stuck driving around in some crappy PC "Smart Car"..."

The PC cars would be better than the Caprice cars they drove around in for a few years.

3 posted on 01/16/2010 6:19:22 AM PST by VicVega (2010 Let only Real Conservatives win. Say good night John McCain.)
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To: DogByte6RER

I don’t undersand why they stopped making the venereable Crown Vic. It’s practically the same as a Mercury Grand Marquis. I would have liked the consumer model, as I favor big bixy cars WITHOUT “luxury” (read expensive to repair) options. It’s getting harder to find a car with bench seats.


4 posted on 01/16/2010 6:20:14 AM PST by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics)
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To: DogByte6RER

5 posted on 01/16/2010 6:20:43 AM PST by rickmichaels
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To: DogByte6RER

“There’s a lot of officers just itching to get behind the wheel of those Chargers, especially the hemis,” he says. “Our officers can’t wait to break the laws the peons can’t.”


6 posted on 01/16/2010 6:20:48 AM PST by Sir Gawain
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To: DogByte6RER

A Fiat would be a wise investment in climate control. Climatefool Gore no doubt drives one.


7 posted on 01/16/2010 6:21:16 AM PST by IbJensen (A Prayer for Obama (Ps 109.8): "Let his days be few; and let another take his position.")
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To: Lurking in Kansas

Is the Charger V-8 a Hemi?


8 posted on 01/16/2010 6:21:33 AM PST by Old Retired Army Guy (tHE)
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To: DogByte6RER
I believe that Crown Vics have been assembled in Canada the last few years. Sorry to see Ford and Canada lose the business.
9 posted on 01/16/2010 6:22:42 AM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: DogByte6RER
New Ford Police Car on the way.

Was supposed to intro'ed at the Detroit Show.

Haven't seen it yet. Maybe soon.

10 posted on 01/16/2010 6:23:23 AM PST by taildragger (Palin/Mulally 2012)
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To: VicVega

Stop laughing please.


11 posted on 01/16/2010 6:23:39 AM PST by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: DogByte6RER

Most police professionals agree the 1994-96 Chevy Caprices were the best police package vehicles ever made to date. I own a 1995 and it is absolutely bullet proof and gets almost 25 mpg on the highway.


12 posted on 01/16/2010 6:23:53 AM PST by mono
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To: DogByte6RER

Give 'em these...

Or these.
13 posted on 01/16/2010 6:23:57 AM PST by RandallFlagg (30-year smoker, E-Cigs helped me quit, and O wants me back smoking again?)
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To: Dr. Sivana
I have a Mercury Grand Marquis. It is indeed the same car as the Crown vic with a bit of interior upgrade. It has been a very good car, and there are many of them on the road for years and years. They have the reliability and sturdiness built into the Crown Vic because of the police car market.
14 posted on 01/16/2010 6:25:38 AM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: Lurking in Kansas

That is what they use where I live, too. I get the impression that the officers like them.


15 posted on 01/16/2010 6:27:14 AM PST by La Lydia
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To: DogByte6RER; shibumi; Markos33; Slings and Arrows
There's only one answer to this:


16 posted on 01/16/2010 6:27:27 AM PST by Salamander (Hold on to all your fears 'cause when I get outta here, vengeance is mine, mine, mine!)
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To: mono

Could you please give us the source for your claim?


17 posted on 01/16/2010 6:28:14 AM PST by 1raider1
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To: DogByte6RER

If you talk to your average law enforcement officer who has driven the Dodge Charger, they’ll tell you most likely the first thing they absolutely do not like about the car for normal patrolling, is the poor side, and rear quarter visability...

The municipalities that buy them, get one or a couple units to try out, and that pretty much it...

Sure, they look sharp, and they have somewhat the engine to keep up, but the overall opinion I have heard is that they do not like them, and they do not compare to what has been working for the last 20 years...

But don’t knock the French...They love those little “Smart Cars”...If Inspector Jacques Clouseau uses it, it must be good!!! /sarc


18 posted on 01/16/2010 6:28:20 AM PST by stevie_d_64 (I'm jus sayin')
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To: billorites

LOL. Would have a hard time intimidating anyone in that vehicle.


19 posted on 01/16/2010 6:28:55 AM PST by VicVega (2010 Let only Real Conservatives win. Say good night John McCain.)
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To: DogByte6RER

I think the Tata Nano would be perfect. It’s coming on the market at $8,000 a pop.


20 posted on 01/16/2010 6:29:14 AM PST by saganite (What happens to taglines? Is there a termination date?)
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To: billorites

...too late...

You owe me a large orange juice...


21 posted on 01/16/2010 6:29:17 AM PST by stevie_d_64 (I'm jus sayin')
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To: mono
"Most police professionals agree the 1994-96 Chevy Caprices were the best police package vehicles ever made"

And most high school kids consider the Caprice one of the best 'make out" vehicles ever made too.

Seriously, if I was a cop I'd feel safest in something that could take a punch like a Volvo.


22 posted on 01/16/2010 6:29:28 AM PST by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: Sir Gawain
There’s a lot of officers just itching to get behind the wheel of those Chargers, especially the hemis,” he says. “Our officers can’t wait to break the laws the peons can’t.”

North Carolina troopers come by my place all the time doing a hundred miles an hour in those fancy new Chargers.....headed to the state maintenance facility a few miles to the east.....to get GAS...before they run out..

23 posted on 01/16/2010 6:30:25 AM PST by OBXWanderer
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To: saganite

The turbo they put on them would cost as much as the base unit...

And when one passes you up it’ll probably souond like a mouse with a bad case of gas...

psssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss........


24 posted on 01/16/2010 6:31:56 AM PST by stevie_d_64 (I'm jus sayin')
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To: DogByte6RER
Cop cars to be built in Indiana in an old Ford Visteon plant (Carbon Motors):


25 posted on 01/16/2010 6:33:17 AM PST by bagadonutz (Boiler up!)
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To: Salamander

Exactly! Ford should just bring back the Falcon!


26 posted on 01/16/2010 6:34:21 AM PST by Tribune7 (Toll booths are devices funded by taxpayers to snarl traffic, waste gas and produce smog)
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To: hinckley buzzard

Back in the late 60s, Chrysler sold a Newport sedan with the 440 cu. in. V-8 as a police edition. They would haul !


27 posted on 01/16/2010 6:36:06 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (Impeachment !)
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To: mono; 1raider1
Most police professionals agree the 1994-96 Chevy Caprices were the best police package vehicles ever made to date. I own a 1995 and it is absolutely bullet proof and gets almost 25 mpg on the highway.

I had a 95 with the police package. Awesome. Goes fast and can handle it.

28 posted on 01/16/2010 6:36:56 AM PST by Vigilantcitizen
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To: DogByte6RER
Carbon Motor's Judge Dredd vehicle:


29 posted on 01/16/2010 6:37:20 AM PST by Malsua
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To: DogByte6RER
Photobucket
30 posted on 01/16/2010 6:38:16 AM PST by bushpilot1
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To: DogByte6RER

They will have to of course offer a cool civilian version of any called the, “Interceptor”, when they finally wheel it out.


31 posted on 01/16/2010 6:39:17 AM PST by dog breath
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To: DogByte6RER
You guys are all amateurs:


32 posted on 01/16/2010 6:39:23 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: Old Retired Army Guy

Is the Charger V-8 a Hemi?
********************************
YES , The FHP has them ,, and they get the SRT 6.1l models , I drive a P-71 CRown Vic and am looking forward to buying a Charger at auction in 3 or 4 years.


33 posted on 01/16/2010 6:40:35 AM PST by Neidermeyer
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To: DogByte6RER

Florida Highway Patrol has a ton of Chargers on the road. Still a lot of Crown Vics also. They at one time were using confiscated hot rod Camaros and Mustangs. They were/are badass!


34 posted on 01/16/2010 6:40:49 AM PST by Bushbacker1 ( I'll miss President Bush greatly! Palin in 2012! The "other" Jim Thompson)
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To: DogByte6RER

35 posted on 01/16/2010 6:41:59 AM PST by Rebelbase
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To: Sir Gawain

http://www.kokomotribune.com/local/local_story_360215941.html

Repair bills adding up to fix damaged squad cars

Mechanics at the city garage have had their hands full repairing several Kokomo police squad cars wrecked mostly during a hectic past three months of police work.

____

It was the third of four recently purchased Dodge Chargers to end up in the shop.

The cost of the recent repairs range from more than $9,000 for one vehicle with a smashed front end to a minor buff job that didn’t cost the city a cent, according to Randy Morris, city director of operations.

Three of the 10 vehicles damaged were brand new Charger squad cars, delivered in October.


36 posted on 01/16/2010 6:43:30 AM PST by digger48
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To: DogByte6RER
Striking Fear into Crims!

37 posted on 01/16/2010 6:44:11 AM PST by ricks_place
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To: DogByte6RER
There are a lot of older LEO's out here who swear by their pre-'72 Mopars, but time tends to give a rosy tint toa lot of things. I can recall that a sheriff's department from my youth had some hot - by the standards of the time - Plymouth Fury interceptors that seemed to be bulletproof (mechanically). The advent of the Caprices and Crown Vics coincided with the point in time when they ended up going to the bland "regulation" paint and stopped chasing people like bats out of hell the length of the county. Whether there was a causal relationship there, I can't say.

(Although I'd like to.)

Mr. niteowl77

38 posted on 01/16/2010 6:44:24 AM PST by niteowl77 (You wanted him, and now you have got him. I say, "Good day to you," America.)
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To: stevie_d_64
Photobucket Kind of looks like a mouse! A microsoft mouse.
39 posted on 01/16/2010 6:44:32 AM PST by saganite (What happens to taglines? Is there a termination date?)
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To: Salamander

Is that the last of the V8 interceptors? :)


40 posted on 01/16/2010 6:46:36 AM PST by Scutter
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To: DogByte6RER

41 posted on 01/16/2010 6:46:38 AM PST by paulycy (The Liberals' DOUBLE-STANDARDS are HATE CRIMES.)
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To: Lurking in Kansas

I agree—the Chargers look very intimidating.


42 posted on 01/16/2010 6:47:05 AM PST by rbg81 (DRAIN THE SWAMP!!)
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To: DogByte6RER; happydogx2; SouthTexas; glock rocks; Pete-R-Bilt; NormsRevenge
Is there room in the smaller cars for coffee AND DONUTS...
43 posted on 01/16/2010 6:48:23 AM PST by tubebender (Some minds are like concrete Thoroughly mixed up and permanently set...)
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To: DogByte6RER

At least for Highway Patrol, this is the way to go

http://cache.gizmodo.com/gadgets/images/HelloKittyTRFinalsmall.jpg


44 posted on 01/16/2010 6:51:01 AM PST by tlb
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To: Dr. Sivana

I have a Crown Vic with the “Sport” option and will be holding on to it. Just a very comfortable and dependable car with plenty of room in the cabin and the trunk. Too bad Ford stopped production.


45 posted on 01/16/2010 6:52:27 AM PST by Nakota
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To: RandallFlagg

I’ve been watching the old Adam-12 shows on Hulu. They did alright in a hopped-up Plymouth Fury.


46 posted on 01/16/2010 6:53:00 AM PST by Tom D. (Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. - Benj. Franklin)
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To: stevie_d_64
Sure, they look sharp, and they have somewhat the engine to keep up

Unless they're up against a chipped diesel. The look on the Hemi driver's face when getting beat by a dually is priceless.

47 posted on 01/16/2010 6:55:12 AM PST by 03A3
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To: 1rudeboy

I agree with you... To me, the only American car worth owning is the Corvette... That is the only exception... A v-8 hemi is nothing special, I can get just as much out of a six and with less weight... my proof? Take me on in an old 9-11 turbo...

But, since the auto companies and the government has ripped us off, I fail to see any sense in strenghthening the police state with fancy, expensive equipment... let them eat cake too...

They are all government employees, no longer caring about being peace officers, they are now just willing puppets to collect revenue...


48 posted on 01/16/2010 6:55:15 AM PST by Sir Francis Dashwood (Arjuna, why have you have dropped your bow???)
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To: DogByte6RER


The last marked car I drove (not NYPD). I'm feeling a little old right now.
49 posted on 01/16/2010 6:56:42 AM PST by Gomez (killer of threads)
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Facing similar circumstances, the Dane County Sheriff’s Office has already put five new Dodge Chargers in the hands of its traffic team, and so far deputies have given them a thumbs-up.

However, can it promote Ladies Night as well as a Monaco?


50 posted on 01/16/2010 6:58:06 AM PST by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
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