Ohio police transition to smaller cruisers

Officers will need to adapt to storing thousands of dollars of equipment in smaller cars

By Marc Katz
Dayton Daily News

HUBER HEIGHTS, Ohio — As local police departments transition from traditional Crown Victoria cruisers to new Ford Interceptors, officers will need to adapt to storing thousands of dollars of equipment in smaller cars.

Ford has ended production of the larger model Crown Victorias, replacing them are the Interceptors. It is more fuel efficient and has more horsepower.

The cruisers are a large investment for police departments.

The cost of the vehicles is $25,000-26,000, and each agency will put almost that amount of equipment into each vehicle, including: computers, light bars, sirens, radar, video and other items.

"When I started," Clayton director of public safety Rick Rose said, "we had a radio and a light bar."

Typically, a police vehicle will be in operation for three to four years and reach 75,000-100,000 miles before trade-in. Although Chevy and Chrysler also have police models, Ford's Crown Victoria had grown to capture about 70 percent of the market.

On Friday several police officers did everything but kick the tires of two Interceptors — one a sedan, the other an SUV — at K.E. Rose.

The truck equipment and local conversion company that stocks police cars with equipment. The SUV was already shrink-wrapped with Beavercreek's police logos.

"A lot of agencies have ordered these, but haven't seen a final copy," said Gary Turner of K.E. Rose. "And we're seeing some things on these we didn't see on the ones at trade shows."

Vandalia's police department ordered four Interceptors, the first time in about 40 years it wouldn't replace a full-sized Ford or Chevrolet, according to police chief Doug Knight.

"It's a pretty significant change for us," Knight said. "We're going to be transitioning to a new generation of patrol car.

"The benefit we've enjoyed for about a decade is the body style and interior dimensions. Trunk space and so forth of a full-size Ford allowed us to move equipment, sirens, lights, protective screens — all of the equipment between cars — without us having to take into consideration different space."

In Clayton, Rose has two new cruisers on order, one a sedan and one more of an SUV style, which has a little more room.

"We've got a couple of really big officers," Rose said. "One is 6-foot-5 and the other is 6-foot-8. We have to make sure there's room for them."

Clayton has seven Crown Victoria marked units in current service along with two Dodge Durangos.

"Over the last decade, we've added more and more electronic equipment to patrol cars," Knight said. "We've lost more and more of the front seat of the car."

"That's not going to be an everyday problem," Rose said. "Few patrol cars are sent out anymore with two-person crews." There are times, though, when that front seat is needed.

"We can't just use it for technology and storage," Knight said.

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