Lafayette PD rolls out new units

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 The sound of the siren may be the same, but for the Lafayette Police Department, the look is changing. For 2014, LPD requested a bid for a fleet of service vehicles. First Responders Equipment and Supply won the contract and began creating a tailored look for 59 police units.

“We build it from the ground up with all of the lighting, markings, sirens,” said Vehicle Equipment Specialist, Sean Thibodeaux, as he discussed the process of turning an ordinary all black or all white Ford Interscope into a traveling office for law enforcement.

“They are in these things 12 hours a day. This is their home away from home. So, it has to be comfortable.”

Comfortable and efficient, which is why more departments are moving from classic sedan models to spacious SUVs. While not all departments can afford the upgrade, LPD managed to fit the bigger vehicles into their $215,000 dollar budget. First Responders churned out 6 supervisor units, 17 unmarked and administrative units and 35 marked police and K-9 units.

The company gave the units a complete make-over, sans any video surveillance or communication 911 equipment. The interior upgrades to prisoner cages, laptop docks and siren controls are impressive but Thibodeaux, a former Lafayette police officer, said he is extremely proud of the lighting package.

“We try to give them 360 degrees of protection and coverage. You have everything, all sides of the vehicle, covered with emergency lighting. A lot of that has to do with experience in the past or just knowing what was missing.”

The units possess three levels of lighting. Primary or overhead lighting, secondary of eye-level light and lower, below eye-level lighting. The company also designed an exclusive strip light bar mounted on the back glass.

“There are very few companies that offer something mounted in that position for SUV’s. We were able to design a housing that was manufactured exclusively for our use. With SUV’s, they sit a little higher, so if you sit in a lower SUV or a compact car, you can’t really see the higher lighting when you get to a certain distance behind the vehicle. If you have a secondary bar that is a little lower, they can still see it.”

There are more blue lights a citizen might see in their rear view mirror. Lights that are brighter and easier to spot from farther away.

“You used to have strobe lighting that drew a lot of power. It was effective but not very intense. You had a limited amount of viewing distance. With LED lighting, it’s a lot brighter, you can see a lot further. It’s a lot more efficient and it doesn’t draw as much power.”

Current LPD units that are beyond repair or outdated will be retired in the upcoming months to a year. First Responders begin work on new deputy units for the Lafayette Sheriff’s Office, while creating designs for Scott, Broussard, Carencro and Crowley police departments.



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