2 new Franklinton Police vehicles arrive

Published 11:09 am Friday, September 20, 2013

The Franklinton Police Department has added two new units to its fleet.

The 2013 Chevrolet Police Package Tahoe vehicles arrived last week and are now in service.

A USDA Rural Development grant provided 75 percent of funding for one of the units, and Maj. Justin Brown said the cost of the other was covered by the town.

Brown said there is typically 90-120 days in between the time the vehicles are ordered and when they arrive. He said a vendor is selected through the state bid process, and the applicable equipment is ordered. 

“The vehicles are then outfitted with em-ergency lights, electronics and prisoner partitions,” he said. “This took approximately one week. The vehicles are then taken to a distributor for installation of custom decals.”

The color is slightly different and the model year is newer, but Brown said these vehicles are the same as ones previously order-ed by the department and being used by officers.

Two older, high-mileage Ford Crown Victoria cars were recently taken out of service.

Brown said the agency chose the Chevrolet Tahoe Police Package after much research, based on the line’s performance, economy and officer safety features.

“The Tahoe has proven to handle extremely well in emergency vehicle operations,” he said. “We conduct police pursuit driving every three years, and the vehicles have far exceeded our expectations.”

The fuel and maintenance costs for the Tahoe units were determined to be comparable to that of the Crown Victoria vehicles, and Brown said the department is fortunate to have a Chevrolet dealership in Franklinton if a situation arises where unique maintenance is required.

“The higher ride height and larger profile allows the officer as well as the public more visibility during emergency operations,” he said. “The increased carrying capacity also allows the officers to carry required emergency equipment which was once restricted due to size limitations.”

Brown said the handling capabilities of the vehicles are better, and they allow for more room for the officers during their 12-hour shifts.

The FPD has been pleased with its Chevrolet Tahoe Police Package units, Brown said. Mayor Wayne Fleming, Alderman John Daniel and the rest of the aldermen have been supportive and forward thinking regarding the department’s fleet longevity, he said.

“We have learned that maintaining a current fleet of vehicles and budgeting appropriately to replace aging vehicles is far more cost effective than trying to repair a worn out fleet,” he said. “We have an obligation to provide the public with the best possible response and service while maintaining fiscal responsibility.

“Through continued efforts by the mayor’s office and police departments grant program, we feel we are doing just that.”