Thomasville Times Enterprise

November 23, 2013

Crown Vics out, Taurus Interceptors in

Patti Dozier

THOMASVILLE — The Ford Crown Victoria has been the standard law enforcement vehicle for years, but at the Thomasville Police Department (TPD), the Crown Vic has taken a back seat to the Ford Taurus Interceptor.

In late 2012, TPD began purchasing Interceptors to replace Crown Victoria patrol cars. To date, eight Interceptors have been put into service.

When Ford Motor Co. announced the Crown Victoria would no longer be available to law enforcement agencies after 2012, TPD began looking for an alternative vehicle. After much evaluation, it was determined Ford’s Taurus Police Interceptor was the best choice.

“We knew we would not be able to purchase the Crown Victorias we were accustomed to, so, after a thorough evaluation process, we identified the Taurus Interceptors as the most suitable replacement for our officers,” said police Chief Ellis Jackson.

“To date, we have been very pleased with the Taurus’ performance,” the chief added.

In handling, acceleration and stopping, the Interceptor is better, said Troy Rich, assistant police chief.

“All ‘round, they handle better,” Rich explained. “It meets all standards and requirements of the Crown Vic. It’s just a little more compact.”

Patrol officer Jeff Miller, whose assigned vehicle is one of the new cars, said the Interceptor meets necessary objectives.

On average, TPD replaces five police cruisers annually. Vehicles scheduled to be replaced are sold at auction, which also helps to defray the cost of replacement models.

“We have found that our police vehicles last for about five to seven years before maintenance costs make it impractical to keep them,” said Philip Palmer, city fleet services manager. “When the vehicles reach this point, the vehicles are sold at auction.”

To ensure only the oldest and/or most problematic vehicles are chosen for replacement, several factors are taken into consideration.

“We look at many variables when deciding which vehicles need to be swapped out,” Palmer said. “We take the vehicle’s age and mileage into account, plus we look at each individual vehicle’s maintenance records to see which cars have had the most repairs.”

Earlier this year, six Interceptors were purchased from Vigil Ford of Morrow at a cost of $28,360 each. Prior to delivery, an additional $5,786 worth of specialized equipment, including lights, sirens, cameras and specialized computers, were installed, bringing the total cost to $34,146.50 per vehicle.

Police cruisers — with an average of 70,000 miles — are replaced about every seven years.

“It’s all city driving,” Rich explained. “It’s a lot of wear and tear on a car.”

An officer is assigned a car and is responsible for ensuring maintenance. The cars are  serviced regularly.

With 59 sworn officers, TPD has a fleet of 62 cars. One is designated for driving training and one for officers to drive to out-of-town training.

Interceptors have new graphics, and the logos on the cars are consistent with logos on other city vehicles.

Miller is quite pleased with his new Interceptor.

“In my opinion, it’s a vast improvement over the Crown Vic,” the officer said.

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820.