Archive for Monday, September 23, 1991

NEW CARS POSE SOME PROBLEMS FOR LOCAL POLICE

September 23, 1991

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The Lawrence Police Department is not immune from some of the reported problems police departments across the country are experiencing with their 1991 Caprice Classic patrol cars.

Lawrence Police Chief Ron Olin said today that local officers have reported some of the hubcaps on the 16 sedans the department obtained this year including 13 patrol cars have been falling off.

The wheels on the car are larger than the hubcap and when the wheels turn and expand, the plastic covers on the tires come off.

"Chevrolet has been responsive to us and is remedying the situation," Olin said.

Lt. Larry Loveland, who has been handling complaints, said that as a temporary solution he's worked through a local Chevrolet dealer to obtain metal hubcaps that hug the car tires better.

Olin said Lawrence police officers have not reported some of the problems other departments have reported regarding the anti-lock brake system (ABS). The local chief said he is working on a training program to ensure that officers know how to safely and efficiently use the system.

"We have not experienced the problems with the brakes on the Caprices, but we have not really had the cars long enough to know if the problems . . . are going to affect us," he said.

In Indianapolis, for example, a police officer who was involved in a high-speed chase died after his cruiser hit a tree.

Loveland said his understanding is that some officers in other jurisdictions aren't used to the braking system. The anti-lock brake system is a computerized system that reduces stopping time.

To curb some problems police are having with the system, Olin said, Chevrolet has sent the police department an informational videocasette on how to properly use the ABS.

"We are working on an in-service program to provide information to officers on the ABS," he said.

Olin said that patrol officers were not trained to use the anti-lock brakes before the cars arrived in May.

"I'm not sure anyone anticipated the problems with the Caprice Classics," he said.

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