This really isn't big 'news' by itself - what, 2 cruisers - but I thought the reasoning was interesting...
Police department looks to buy Chevrolet cruisers
By: Lisa Carter , Staff writer
The two new Impalas, if approved by the Board of Selectmen, will replace a 1999 and 2000 Ford Crown Victoria, each with high mileage.
In an effort to better equip the police department while reducing costs, the Board of Police Commissioners Dec. 18 unanimously approved the purchase of two Chevrolet Impala patrol cars.
Money for the purchase has already been allocated and is available in the 2003-04 budget, but the Board of Selectmen must approve the buy.
The new model is a first for the Madison Police Department, which, like most police departments throughout the state, takes to the road in Ford's Crown Victorias.
The front wheel drive Chevy Impalas are only in their third year of production. Police Chief Paul Jakubson learned about the vehicles through a General Motors representative at a recent meeting in Philadelphia.
Shortly before the first snowstorm in December 2003, the department received an Impala "trial cruiser," and police officers were able to test drive it for several weeks, a span of time that included two heavy snowstorms.
One of the conditions attached to the temporary receipt of the cars was that every police officer driving them had to fill out an evaluation form.
"Generally, the evaluations were favorable," said Jakubson, who added that the only unfavorable comment concerned front seat leg room. "Most officers were impressed with the handling capabilities during the inclement weather."
According to Jakubson, the Chevrolet cars cost roughly $2,500 to $2,700 less than their Ford counterparts. And because the Impalas use a V-6 front wheel drive, Jakubson said they should be cheaper to operate than the rear wheel drive Crown Victorias.
"The one thing that's unknown is what the maintenance will be on these long term since we've never had them," said Jakubson. "We're taking a calculated risk."
The chief added that the Connecticut State Police use the Impalas as unmarked vehicles for their traffic squad, but few departments use the cars as patrol vehicles.
Normally police cruisers are purchased at a cheaper rate by taking advantage of Connecticut state contracts, which buy the cars in quantity. But according to Jakubson, someone in administrative services for the state did not renew its contract, so Jakubson is looking to buy the cars off a New York state contract.
The chief said that the vehicles will come completely equipped except for the police radios, which will be installed locally.