Though it will take several thousand miles before the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office can really get a grasp on the vehicle’s performance, the response so far has been positive.
“I haven’t had any negative feedback,” Maj. Jim Griffin said. “They’re more responsive and have more horsepower than the Crown Victorias, and the all-wheel drive makes a difference.”
When Ford announced it would discontinue the Crown Victoria sedans after 2011, local agencies were faced with a choice among a new Ford model (the Interceptor), the Chevrolet Caprice or Impala, and the Dodge Charger.
Columbia County, the Georgia State Patrol and Aiken Public Safety chose the Charger, which they had experience with.
Richmond County was the largest local police agency to choose the new Ford model.
“Over the years I’ve driven them all, and to me, Ford makes the best car for the job we do,” Griffin said.
The challenge is getting the cars. Capt. Scott Gay said issues with backorders from the after-market manufacturers are slowing the process.
About 20 cars are on the street, with another 20 expected before the first order will be complete.
One of the few complaints from deputies is the size of the vehicle. Though the interior is nearly the same size as the Crown Victoria’s, the new model’s doors don’t swing open quite as far, Gay said.
Some officers also say the car, which sits up slightly more in the back and has a smaller rear window, causes some difficulty while backing.
Initially, the department was concerned the car might alarm people not used to the new look. It asked anyone who questioned whether they were being pulled over by a deputy to call 911 for verification.
So far, that issue has not come up, but the car’s appearance has.
“I’ve heard rumors a few times that people said (the cars) look mean or scary,” Griffin said. “I don’t know that they’re being critical, but
it’s definitely a different appearance. It kind of reminds me of the RoboCop car.”