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Albemarle County Police Purchase New Fleet of Cars - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Albemarle County Police Purchase New Fleet of Cars

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After nearly 20 years, Ford has retired its Crown Victoria, leaving police departments across the country to find a new replacement.

After extensive testing, the Albemarle County Police Department has found what they believe to be a worthy successor and they recently purchased 14 new vehicles to replace their aging fleet.

The Ford Police Interceptor is a crossover that uses the body of a Ford Explorer built on the chassis of a Ford Taurus. It has several advances over the old Crown Victoria including all-wheel drive, increased storage capacity, more driver room, and electronic stability control for rough conditions.

Police spent several months testing various cars before picking the Interceptor. They say that although it looks like an SUV, it handles better in high speed conditions then the old Crown Victoria and is a better all-around vehicle for the numerous roles that a county officer must fill.

"The officers have a lot of responsibilities," said Dennis Hahn, the technical support coordinator of the Albemarle County Police Department. "They don't just answer calls. They're evidence techs, dive team members and help with accident reconstruction, so they have to carry extra equipment at all times and the utility gives them the space to transport the equipment safely and more efficiently.

When Ford stopped making the Crown Victoria, they came up with two versions of a police Interceptor; one of them being a utility vehicle and one of them being a sedan.

"We selected the Ford utility as the police car due to the fact that it has electronic stability control and all-wheel drive," Hahn said. "Not everybody's driveway and roads are paved, so we can respond quicker and easier, and we don't have to go back and get a four-wheel drive."

Some other upgrades include side curtain airbags for protection of the officers and whoever may be transported. Also, there is more versatility to the adjustment of the gas and brake pedals along with the seats so that the car can adapt to the different stature of officers from the shorter to the taller.

The new cars cost about 25-thousand dollars, which is a few thousand more than the Crown Victoria, but they get about double the gas mileage on the highway. 
    
Albemarle police expect to have the Crown Victoria fully phased out within the next five years and replaced by the new police Interceptor.

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