Reliable vehicles are a must for police officers rushing to a call or crime scene. Unfortunately, for the Crowley Police Department, their fleet of cars were past their prime. Until recently, officers units were old, would often break down and ran the city hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in repair costs.
Chief K.P. Gibson was able to convince the mayor and city council to enter into a five-year lease, allowing them the opportunity to purchase 18 new police vehicles for a little over $500,000. It was the largest vehicle replacement order in Gibson’s run as chief. Prior to 2009, the department was able to replaced four to five vehicles at a time, until a recession hit and pushed new unit orders down on the list of priorities.
“The older vehicles were getting to be between seven and ten years of age,” said Gibson
Less than 20 percent of the units contained over-head light bars, while the rest of the units contained dash mounted lights. First Responders Equipment and Supply equipped every new unit with a light bar and flashers in the head and rear lights, creating a uniform look.
” We have ample light opportunities to support the efforts that we are trying to do in the community. People will be able to see the lights when you are pulling up from farther away, “Gibson explained.
Crown Victoria’s, previously used for the K-9’s, were out-dated and compact. Officer Dwayne Schnexider and K-9 Uzi traded up for a spacious SUV.
“I carry a lot more equipment normally than just a regular patrol officer,” Schnexider began. “Then I have all his equipment as well. The room helps.”
The older units had to be run constantly for air conditioning for the canines, and if one shut off while an officer was away from the vehicle, it put the animal in danger during hot months. A new feature on the SUV’s will provide for the canine’s safety.
“If you keep the dogs in the cars and something happens where the heat rises, alarms will go off, lights will go off, alerting the officer for the safety of the canine which is another major cost for the department,” said Gibson.
The department purchased extended warranties on all vehicles and expect to retire the 2014 round of cars at the end of the five-year lease.