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Police agencies divided on new car models

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After years of loyal service from Ford’s Crown Victoria, area police agencies are divided on what new model can compare with it.

The Richmond County Sheriff's Office chose the Taurus-based Ford Police Interceptor to replace the Crown Victoria and has already purchased 34 patrol cars.  JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAFF
The Richmond County Sheriff's Office chose the Taurus-based Ford Police Interceptor to replace the Crown Victoria and has already purchased 34 patrol cars.

Ford announced in 2010 that it would discontinue the sedan after 2011, but it has offered a 2012 Taurus-based Ford Police Interceptor and an Explorer-based Police Interceptor Utility in its place. Agencies can also choose from the Dodge Charger Pursuit and the Chevrolet Caprice Police Pursuit Vehicle.

The Burke County Sheriff’s Office and North Augusta Department of Public Safety have decided to stick with what they know for now.

“We refer to them as 2011-B purchases,” North Augusta Public Safety Lt. Tim Thornton said of the half-dozen or so 2011 Crown Victorias they bought from surplus. He said that will give them time to make a decision after the new options have been on the road.

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office has chosen the new Ford Police Interceptor and has already purchased 34 patrol cars and five traffic cars. The long-standing history with Ford products influenced the decision.

A few of the cars are already in Augusta and some could be road-ready by June.

Larry Williams, the municipal sales manager for Bobby Jones Ford, said the cars are on the lot waiting to be painted and outfitted with equipment. He’s dealing with a backlog for equipment. Williams said some of the manufacturers didn’t start making parts until after the cars came out, causing a problem meeting demand.

Capt. David Turno, of the Aiken Department of Public Safety, said it also chose Ford vehicles for now.

The department pur­chased four Police Inter­ceptor Utility vehicles for lieutenants on patrol but is leaning toward the Dodge Charger for a patrol vehicle. Turno said the Chargers will not be bought until the end of this fiscal year in July.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia State Patrol are choosing the Charger, which they have used before.

“There’s just not a lot of history on how (the other options) hold up,” said Pam Tucker, the director of the Emergency and Operations Division in Columbia County.

The Aiken County Sher­iff’s Office is still debating. Capt. Troy Elwell estimates 30-40 vehicles will be replaced after the start of the fiscal year.

So far no one locally has chosen the Chevrolet Caprice.

“It’s a great car, but the thing we found when we drove it was mileage was worse. That’s big right now,” State patrol Capt. Keith Canup said.



Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Ford -- Police Interceptor

Columbia County Sheriff’s Office -- Dodge Charger Pursuit

North Augusta Public Safety -- 2011 Ford Crown Victoria

Aiken County Sheriff’s Office -- Undecided

Aiken Public Safety Ford Police -- Interceptor Utility /  Dodge Charger Pursuit

Georgia State Patrol -- Dodge Charger Pursuit

Burke County Sheriff’s Office -- 2011 Ford Crown Victoria

MAKING COMPARISONS: Small agencies that don’t have the means to test-drive cars on the track look to larger agencies’ comparisons before making a purchase. One of the larger agencies is the Michigan State Police, which publishes a thorough report every year of the top options and how they compare. View the report at

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KSL 05/12/12 - 04:41 am
After coming from 3

After coming from 3 generations of GM car buyers, we switched to Fords 15 years ago. We have had 5 and the repair bills have been so much less. We tend to keep our vehicles long enough to incur repair bills, by the way.

There has to be a reason Ford didn't have to have a government bailout.

overburdened_taxpayer 05/12/12 - 05:18 am

Really? Pam Tucker commenting on police vehicles? Shouldn't it have been someone from the Sheriff's Office or Grovetown & Harlem Public Safety Offices for Columbia County? Tucker has to get into the middle of everything, including things that don't involve her at all.

Just My Opinion
Just My Opinion 05/12/12 - 06:12 am
I'm for whichever car will

I'm for whichever car will break down if it goes after me for speeding, but will fly like a bat out of hell after a guy who runs a red light in front of me! Got that? Me = breaks down.....Other guy = goes FAST!

Retired Army
Retired Army 05/12/12 - 08:06 am
Ford man all the way for this

Ford man all the way for this type of duty. Especially if the interceptor models are based on the Taurus AWD SHO. That is one baaaaaad screamin' machine. Twin turbo DOHC V6 mated to a six speed auto with all wheel drive I am just going to pull over and take my medicine if I see one chasing my Mustang.

The standard Taurus with AWD should be more than adequate for street patrol. With better technology than the old reliable rear wheel heavy steel Crown Vic's, the taxpayer should see an improved operations cost and our policemen and women will be safer and more comfortable. Win win.

Disclaimer I did work as a Ford saleman for local dealerships before retirement. I've also sold competing brands foreign and domestic but always return to Fords. American built by Union workers and a company that is all American and always a leader in performance and green tech, not to mention financially sound. Good choice Richmond county.

And somebody check on Larry Williams to see if he is still banging out all those individual orders on that old manual typewriter.

allhans 05/12/12 - 09:51 am
Only time will tell, but my

Only time will tell, but my money goes to those who chose Ford.
Richmond County!

Sweet son
Sweet son 05/12/12 - 01:19 pm
Overburdened is Right!

Pam just likes to see her name in print. She should have deferred the call to someone in the business. I bet the county car she drives is an unmarked police car!

my.voice 05/12/12 - 01:27 pm
To stop making the Crown Vic

To stop making the Crown Vic is like discontinuing the M16, its a staple you don't dump. There have been more bad guys put in the back if the CV than any other make. I'm not a Taurus fan but I am not really familiar with the COP model, and I do think Ford is making a solid vehicle. There's a reason they are making money and not getting bailed out.

And yea, Sweet Son, Pam just likes to think she's a cop.

twolane 05/12/12 - 02:58 pm
any cop will tell you the

any cop will tell you the chargers are great for speed however you have to jump ONE curb the front end will come apart in pieces on the chargers...the crown vics were absolutely bulletproof and could take all the abuse you could muster.......there are crown vics purchased at auctions that have 250,000 miles......i still remember the gsp mustangs those suckers were fast as lightning

csraguy 05/12/12 - 03:31 pm
Best Police Vehicle

Although I believe the Ford Interceptor to be the best, Ford should not have dumped the Crown Vic until their new vehicle was had been on the road for a year or so. Ford dominated the market and now it is up for grabs - kind of like when New Coke came out.

The Charger’s brakes are in constant need of repair and their visibility within the vehicle is poor.

Richmond County got it right by sticking with Ford.

Agreed, they are doing something right by not needing or taking our tax dollars in the form of a bail out.

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