2012-12-14 / Front Page

Police force continues cruiser research

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer


For the past few months the Scarborough Police Department has been testing alternatives to the Crown Victoria (above), which has been discontinued by Ford. The department is expected to make a decision early next year. (File photo) For the past few months the Scarborough Police Department has been testing alternatives to the Crown Victoria (above), which has been discontinued by Ford. The department is expected to make a decision early next year. (File photo) The Scarborough Police Department is still in the midst of figuring which model of police cruiser will replace the Crown Victoria, a Ford product police have been using for more than a decade.

It was announced in 2010 that Ford would cease production of the vehicle at the end of 2011, causing departments across the country to look for an alternative.

Ford introduced the Ford Police Interceptor, an all-wheel vehicle to replace the rear-wheel Crown Victoria.

Likewise, Chevrolet reintroduced the Caprice, a popular police vehicle until it was discontinued in the mid-1990s. Departments also began looking at the Dodge Charger as a possible replacement for the Crown Victoria.

This spring, rather than replacing four cruisers with one vehicle type and realizing it was not the best fit, the department decided to allocate $114,000 toward the purchase of two Dodge Chargers, one Chevrolet Caprice and one Ford Police Interceptor.

Scarborough Police Capt. David Grover, who is in charge of the department’s fleet, said there have been no issues from the general public about the varying looks to Scarborough’s police fleet.

“We had some concern before the vehicles were lettered. Once they were lettered, even though they looked a little different and their design varied a little bit, we haven’t had any concerns like that expressed,” Grover said.

Right now, Grover said, the two Chargers and the Interceptor have been road tested.

The Chevrolet Caprice, Grover said, was built in Australia and there was some delay getting the vehicle to Scarborough. The vehicle has since arrived and will be test driven soon.

“Public Works is currently setting that up, so it is not in use on the roads right now,” Grover said.

Officers, Grover said, are still reviewing which vehicle will be the best fit for the department.

“There has been nothing with the Dodge or Ford products that would cause us to say we wouldn’t use this vehicle (in the future),” Grover said. “People are reserving judgment to see how the Caprice compares to the other two.”

Grover, who oversees the purchasing of the vehicle fleet, said the department is soliciting opinions from other police departments in the area, as well as the Department of Public Works, which maintains the vehicles.

“We are in communication with other departments about what they have done and what they have seen in terms of advantages and disadvantages,” Grover said. “It is going to come down to each of these vehicles having advantages and disadvantages and not that there is a clear vehicle that works for us or one that doesn’t work for us.”

Grover said the examination of the vehicles will continue for the next few weeks. A decision, he said, could be made by late January or February, well in advance of when the department’s FY 2014 budget is reviewed by the finance committee. The department is scheduled to, like in years past, replace four vehicles.

“Because each of the vehicles are similarly priced, we probably won’t make a decision on the specific vehicle at the time we put the item into the budget,” he said.

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