With four of the nine vehicles in its fleet with over 120,000 miles, the Oakdale Police Department is making a gradual change in vehicles, shifting from its mainstay police sedan, the Ford Crown Victoria, to the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV.
For years, police patrol vehicles were typically rear-wheel drive, body-on-frame sedans with V-8 engines. But as automakers began to move away from rear-wheel drive cars with V-8 engines, the options for police vehicles with those features has dropped. With Ford discontinuing its Crown Victoria a couple of years ago – an icon of law enforcement agencies across the country – sport utility vehicles are quickly replacing cars as the vehicle of choice for police forces nationwide.
The California Highway Patrol has also adopted both the new Ford Explorer Police Interceptor and the Chevrolet Tahoe, which have been appearing in greater numbers on local highways.
On Monday, March 3, the Oakdale City Council approved the purchase of another Chevrolet Tahoe, the third for the fleet, to replace an aging patrol unit that had over 130,000 miles on its odometer.
Police Sergeant Joe Johnson told the council that the department had studied the options available to them including the Chevrolet Impala and Ford Explorer PI. The sport utility police models in recent years have become more efficient and are roomier and safer than the offered sedans from Ford, GM, and Dodge.
“It should also cut on knee and back injuries from the repetitive getting in-and-out of the vehicle during a shift,” Johnson added.
Johnson told the council that the department chose the Chevrolet Tahoe over the Ford Explorer due to its durability, size, and that two others were in the fleet for consistency of equipment.
Johnson stated the Tahoe was rated with the same EPA rating of 17 MPG as the Chevrolet Impala.
The bad guys in town are going to have to get used to the look of a new police car coming after them. The Tahoe allows the driver to sit higher with a better field of view and a better visibility to the public.
Even with the higher center of gravity, concerns of the vehicle’s stability during high-speed responses and pursuits are alleviated since the Chevrolet Tahoe has a number of features that sets it apart from its civilian counterpart. The Police Tahoe is lower to the ground, delivering improved handling, especially at high speeds. The front and rear suspensions feature stiffer springs and shocks, and there’s also a stiffer bumper more ideally suited for police loads.
Of course, it will have plenty of power. It will come with a 5.3-liter V-8 engine good for 355 horsepower.