Move aside, Ford Crown Victoria.
Pull over, Chevy Caprice.
The Germantown Police Department has recently taken more steps toward completing its transition to an entirely sports utility vehicle patrol fleet.
The village board has approved spending about $125,440 to cover the cost of squad equipment, changeover and purchase of three 2017 Ford SUV Police Interceptors.
The cost covers two police squads and an unmarked squad that are part of what Chief Peter Hoell said is an effort to primarily allow more space inside police vehicles.
“Especially with the technology we use, with computers and squad cameras, we really needed to start thinking about options that allow more space,” explained Hoell, who said the transition to an entirely SUV fleet should be complete within the next two years.
The department has been purchasing the SUVs slowly for the past couple of years as the other vehicles naturally depreciate.
“First, we waited for a few other departments to try and see if they liked (the Interceptor), then we’ve planned for buying two or three a year as other cars get old and need to be replaced anyway,” Hoell said.
Most squads are turned over by 120,000 miles because of the added wear on the vehicle from daily duties on the road.
“That mileage might not seem like much if you’re driving a strong, reliable vehicle, but ours are running all the time,” Hoell said. “Add to that the wear and tear of situations like when someone is going 90 miles per hour or more on Highway 41 and we need to get to that speed or higher to catch them. That’s tough on our vehicles.”
The Interceptors are the best fit for the force since Ford stopped making the Crown Victoria, in Hoell’s opinion. And since there is no guarantee whether roads will be plowed as officers respond to calls in snow storms, Hoell said he is excited his officers will be more equipped to travel safely.
“On our older vehicles, we have to pay for snow tires, but the all-wheel drive functionality is definitely a nice feature for us to have in the winter months,” he said.