New squad cars to roll outEvery year, the Red Wing Police Department and the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office replace anywhere from three to seven vehicles in their fleets. Usually, the new vehicles mix in seamlessly with the older squads.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
Every year, the Red Wing Police Department and the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office replace anywhere from three to seven vehicles in their fleets. Usually, the new vehicles mix in seamlessly with the older squads.
But this year, the new cars will be much easier to spot.
Ford recently retired its popular Crown Victoria model — a long-used law enforcement staple — and replaced it with the Police Interceptor. The police and sheriff’s departments each bought three of the new vehicles.
“They built this vehicle for the purpose of being a squad car,” Red Wing Police Capt. Darold Glander said, adding that the body shape is similar to the Ford Taurus.
Both departures chose the new Ford model, though each agency shopped around to other makers as well.
“All the major car manufacturers have police vehicle options,” sheriff operations Sgt. Kris Johnson said, adding that Chevrolet and Ford are the top two.
“It was a tough decision,” Glander said. “You have to weigh all the factors.”
But the Ford won out for a number of reasons. Both Glander and Johnson cited the new vehicle’s all-wheel drive option as an asset.
“That will be a real bonus in the wintertime especially,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he also was impressed with the way the Ford’s side air bags — a feature the Crown Victoria didn’t have — and with the way the Interceptor handled, especially on gravel.
Glander added that the shifter was on the floor in the Chevrolet model, which could make it difficult to fit in some of the police equipment such as the mobile computer, its mounting brackets and radios.
“I wasn’t totally sure our equipment would transfer the way I wanted it to transfer,” he said.
The new Ford vehicles arrived in late spring and have since been waiting to get their graphics and equipment installed. Because the car is so new, the manufactures who supply the police add-ons — things like the rear cage — have been backed up as the new products are designed. In addition, law enforcement agencies across the country need the same equipment.
“We’re waiting for the aftermarket companies to keep up with demand,” Johnson said.
Usually the Sheriff’s Office gets its new vehicles in early spring and has them on the road in May or June. Johnson said the new Fords probably won’t be street ready until early September.
But the cars are inching closer to becoming usable squad cars. Last week, the police vehicles received their graphics at Falk Auto Body. The sheriff vehicles were taken to Midwest Sign in Rochester.
The new vehicles cost about $26,000 each. Johnson said the new equipment for each brings the total cost to around $35,000.
The Fords are expected to last about five years, which is the typical life span for a squad car. Glander said Red Wing will more than likely continue buying the new Ford model as the department updates its fleet in the coming years.
“It looks like it’s going to be a good fit for us,” Glander said.
“The Crown Vic was around for a long time, with the same configuration for around 20 years,” Johnson added. “I hope this will be the same.”