HPD adds Chargers to fleet
by Cris Ritchie
HAZARD – With Ford Motor Company opting to halt production of its well-known Crown Victoria, police agencies in Kentucky are now looking elsewhere for the needs of their motor vehicle fleets.
The Kentucky State Police this year unveiled their new cruiser, the Chevrolet Caprice built by General Motors, and the Hazard post already has troopers behind the wheel of that model. Now, officials at the Hazard Police Department have replaced five of their aging Crown Victorias with new Dodge Chargers that officials say not only have the muscle needed for pursuit, but also the capability for improved gas mileage.
The department is currently updating its vehicular fleet as several of the older cruisers are showing signs of their age with transmission problems and the normal wear and tear associated with a vehicle that remains on the road almost constantly. Sgt. Paul Campbell noted that those vehicles had each amassed more than 100,000 miles, and were to the point when it became cost-effective to purchase new cruisers rather than to keep paying for ongoing repairs to the older vehicles.
“With these five new vehicles, we hope to alleviate the stress on the vehicles that work right now, and try to prevent future maintenance costs,” Campbell said.
The decision to switch to the Dodge Charger rather than other models was one of practicality, Campbell explained. While Ford released a new police interceptor based on its Taurus, Campbell said that model wasn’t as practical for their own law enforcement applications here in Hazard. The Charger comes with a stout 5.7 liter V-8 engine, but also includes a fuel saving feature that automatically transitions the engine down to six cylinders when possible.
“It just comes down to what we use it for,” Campbell said. “We work most of our calls in the city limits. We need something that’s going to help save on fuel, as well as give us the ability to pursue if needed, and this vehicle covers both of those.”
Four of the five new cars will be striped with Hazard Police markings, while the fifth will remain unmarked. The vehicles also need some minor adjustments before being fully ready for the road. Cages, radio equipment, and lights and sirens still need to be installed.
Campbell added that the department will also donate one of their older cars to the Hazard Fire Department for use there.
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