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Friday, June 7, 2013
A new look is on the horizon for the North Augusta Department of Public Safety’s patrol vehicles, as the agency’s Ford Crown Victorias take a back seat to Chevrolet Tahoes.
The sports utility vehicles are to become the new norm, and the six 2013 Tahoes that were delivered in late May are to get their stripes and decals this month.
Lt. Tim Thornton, the agency’s spokesman, issued a report on the change. “One of the top priorities facing our department was cargo space to carry all of our mandated first responder equipment. For many years, law enforcement agencies across the country found the Ford Crown Victoria to be the tried and true standard for patrol vehicles. Ford discontinued the manufacturing of the Crown Victoria in 2011,” he wrote.
Thornton noted that the agency’s selection process involved three main factors: fuel economy, price and storage capacity. The Tahoes have more than 60 cubic-feet of space – more than three times the capacity of Dodge Chargers and Chevrolet Caprices, which are also used in police work.
North Augusta’s officers, being trained for police, fire and emergency medical services, carry rifles (with additional ammunition), fire-fighting gear, medical kits, hazardous-materials protective gear, computers, in-car video equipment and automatic external defibrillators. Some officers also carry “SWAT gear plus a great deal more,” Thornton wrote.
He added, “Whether or not the Chevrolet Tahoe will prove itself to be as durable and reliable as the Ford Crown Victoria has yet to be seen.”
Promotional material from Chevrolet describes the Tahoe as combining “performance, utility, safety and low life-cycle cost.” The two-wheel drive version is promoted as best for pursuit, while the four-wheel drive version “has become the solution of choice for many first responders, including K9, tactical and other special applications.”