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The Colony PD get new rides, new equipment
The Colony residents are about to see an influx of new Ford Explorer police vehicles thanks to a go-ahead given by the city council last week.
Police Chief Joe Clarks said $17,500 to $35,000 is budgeted for each vehicle, with $10,000 related to police equipment placed within and on the vehicles.
Ford discontinued the Crown Victoria, a popular vehicle used by several police departments across the state a few years ago, Clark said, and the Explorer and Taurus were produced with police packages to replace it.
Choosing the vehicles was not an easy task, Clark said. The department went through a lengthy evaluation process to decide what patrol vehicle would best suit the department. Several officers were tasked with finding a suitable switch from the Crown Victoria.
"Only vehicles with a police package were considered, and the Ford Explorer was obviously our choice," Clark said. "These will be the first new patrol vehicles we have purchased in three years, and with this change in vehicle style, we decided to also upgrade and change our vehicle design to something a bit more traditional with a black and white theme."
But it wasn't just the exterior of the vehicle that needed to be tested. Officers were asked to get in and out of the vehicle, drive it and see what it would be like to put someone in or get someone out of the back seat of the vehicle.
"The Explorer model offered a bit more room for some of our bigger officers, as well as more room for prisoners being transported than the Taurus had," Clark said. "These five vehicles are being purchased to replace Chevrolet Impalas that are up to ten years old with mileage in excess of 100,000 miles. Obviously the new vehicles will not be in the shop and down for repair, insuring the officer's uninterrupted response to calls for service."
Clark said the department requests replacement vehicles annually to keep the fleet current, in good repair and to avoid replacement of a large number of vehicles at one time. The vehicles are scheduled to be completed - they have to go through an equipment installation - within the next three months.
The vehicles will be solid black with white lettering in decals with no additional costs. This isn't the first time The Colony PD has upped the design factor, Clark said.
"We considered the two-tone paint but it added significantly to the cost, which we did not believe was warranted," he said. "Our previous design won first place recognition for the western United States in Law & Order Magazine, and we hope to again get The Colony recognized nationally for the new design."
All patrol vehicles are also getting new digital camera systems to replace the old VHS system currently in place and new mobile radios.