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Police to add more utility vehicles to patrol fleet


You’ve probably noticed a couple of SUV police vehicles on the streets.

Well, you will see more of them in the coming months. (Or perhaps you are a terrible driver and don’t notice police vehicles, in which case I predict higher numbers for the city’s ticket totals in 2013.)

City commissioners at their Tuesday meeting are set to set to approve a bid for eight more of the Ford Police Utility Interceptors. Commissioners are set to approve a bid from Shawnee Mission Ford of $25,700 each for the vehicles.

As we reported last month, police officials said the utility vehicles performed very well in the snow storms, and the purchase price of the SUVs is about the same as the more traditional models.

I’m not sure how the SUVs — they are actually fairly small for a utility vehicle — do on fuel mileage compared to the standard police car, but some reviews I’ve read indicate that SUV police vehicles are about 20 percent more fuel-efficient than the old Crown Victoria Police Interceptor vehicles that are still a part of many fleets.

No word yet on what percentage of Lawrence police fleet is expected to be comprised of the SUVs in the future.


Keith Richards 5 years, 3 months ago

Chad-Any information on whether the local Ford dealership submitted a bid and how close it was?

Chad Lawhorn 5 years, 3 months ago

Laird Noller did submit a bid. The city has a local purchasing preference policy that allows the city to accept a bid from a local business if it is within 1 percent of the low bid. The city has used that policy several times on purchasing vehicles, but this time Noller's bid fell just outside the 1 percent range. Noller's bid was $26,022 per vehicle, which is 1.2 percent higher than the Shawnee bid. Thanks, Chad

somebodynew 5 years, 3 months ago

I don't know about now, but they used to always check and request bids from local dealers in the past.

mdlund0 5 years, 3 months ago

Is there a particular reason that the Lawrence Police Dept. can't buy some fuel efficient replacements for their gas guzzling crown vics? 20% is not a tremendous improvement over the 12 MPG that the crown vic/interceptors get. Two snow storms a year with roads cleared in 24 hours doesn't justify the purchase of 8 SUVs. Many police departments in much snowier places than here (see South Bend, IN), use a police version of the Chevy Malibu. Front wheel drive works well in snow and the cars get reasonable gas mileage for a police model. What's the police department's budget for gas and how much can we reduce it by making some simple, intelligent decisions?

Bursting 5 years, 3 months ago

Intelligent decisions? when there is free money to buy new rides and police bling? I think not

optimist 5 years, 3 months ago

Realizing "going green" is all the rage there are other factors to consider. The weight difference is the biggest factor. The weight of a Chevy Malibu is probably in the realm of 3,300 lbs while the new interceptor SUV's probably weigh in closer to 5,000. While it would be nice to save some money on fuel police cars need to be able to perform in certain ways. In this case using a Malibu to perform stopping maneuvers against suspect vehicles would put officers a tremendous disadvantage. While it is rare that they are used in this manner officers need to have the tools at their disposal when they are needed. If we take that advantage away we might as well take away their bullet proof vests and arm them with revolvers. The other issue is backseat space. The Malibu makes it very difficult to place handcuffed suspects into easily and still put up barriers between the officers and the suspects.

Currahee 5 years, 3 months ago

Hahahah why stop there? They should have just considered getting Prius vehicles to chase down crazy speeders who drive bimmers.

Janet Lowther 5 years, 3 months ago

One thing is that a lot of police are considerably taller than average. I'm only 5'11" & 165# and I barely fit in my Civic. I can just iimagine a 6'4" cop trying to exit a Prius in a hurry. . .

buffalo63 5 years, 3 months ago

Part of the reason for the SUV's is the car manufacturers themselves. They quit making "police cars" and a couple of brands that do are not as reliable.

Stuart Evans 5 years, 3 months ago

It's my understanding that the Interceptor is available in both sedan and SUV models.

optimist 5 years, 3 months ago

Eventually most or all of them considering Ford has dicontinued the Crown Victory Interceptor.

buffalo63 5 years, 3 months ago

According to a law enforcement friend, the interior design of the Ford sedan created problems when adding the computer equipment, etc. and storage of other necessary gear was better in the SUV.

purplesage 5 years, 3 months ago

That's "Crown Victoria" - not Victory. The model name goes back to the 50's in Ford's line up and I think was available as a hardtop convertible. A Chevy Malibu is kid of flim flam as a patrol vehicle. It is a nice little family car but hardly up to this kind of use and abuse.

Front, four and all wheel drive vehicle handle differently in high demand situations. (I strongly oppose the idea of police chases except for the most exceptional circumstances - but they need a capable vehicle. The Taurus vehicles have more weight than a Malibu. These things make a lot more sense than the pick up trucks many police departments are using.

Should be able to buy off a state bid - and then, the local dealer could match it if they want the business. In my previous experience buying vehicles for a government entity, they were not interested in doing so. Or, their bids indicated that they weren't interested. I hsve picked up several at Shawnee Mission.

Bob Forer 5 years, 3 months ago

If the State politicians had it together they might try to make a deal directly with the manufacturer. No need for a dealer middleman, especially when the vehicles will be serviced by the city entity and not a dealership.

lawrencedad 5 years, 3 months ago

The Taurus based Interceptor sedan is EPA rated @ 18 city 26 highway, the Explorer based Interceptor SUV is rated @ 16/21. The last version of the Crown Vic based Interceptor was rated @ 14/21. http://www.autoblog.com/2012/03/16/ford-police-interceptors-get-official-fuel-economy-ratings-from/

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