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Posted: 02/12/14


NEW RIDES. Above, Romeo Police Chief Greg Paduch stands with one of two new Ford Police Interceptor utility vehicles the department purchased last fall. The vehicles arrived equipped at the end of January, and replace two Crown Victorias that had 130,000 miles each.

(Observer photo by Chris Gray)

RPD hits the road with
two new utility vehicles

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      With two Romeo police sedans having a combined mileage of more than the distance of the Earth to the Moon, it was time for some new vehicles.
       The Romeo Police Department is patrolling the village in two 2014 Ford Police Interceptor utility vehicles, replacing older cruisers that had a combined mileage of more than 260,000 miles.
       The Village Board of Trustees unanimously approved of purchasing the vehicles in September. The total price came to $54,778 to be paid over the next three years, with a yearly payment of $18,259.
       Police Chief Greg Paduch said the original plan was to purchase one vehicle this year and another next year, but an incentive from Ford will save the village $2,500 for buying two at once. He said the last time the department bought vehicles was in 2008 for three Ford Crown Victorias.
       "When things were better economically we would get rid of our vehicles around 100,000 miles, or roughly every three years," he said. "Since 2008 we've stretched these out an extra two years."
       The new vehicles arrived in late November, but were sent back out to equip them with gear like LED lighting, radios, siren boxes and cages. The vehicles returned ready for duty by the end of January with new decals provided by Whitcomb Signs.
       "All the new equipment was paid for with drug forfeiture funds that the department has recouped over the past 10 months," Paduch said.
       Paduch said the SUVs replaced two Crown Victorias that had at least 130,000 miles each, a number that doesn't count idling time for stationary duties. One vehicle was sent to be auctioned off while the other was stripped and given to the Wastewater Treatment Plant as a village vehicle.
       Before making the purchases, the department drove demo versions of a Chevrolet Impala, a Ford Police Interceptor sedan and Ford Police Interceptor utility. Paduch said the main advantage over sedans is the four-wheel drive, which comes in handy during snowy weather.
       The utilities also sit higher for a better view and offer more interior space for officers and their gear while on patrol.
       "If you're driving around on patrol for eight hours that is a big difference," he said.
       Gas mileage for the utility is 16 MPG city and 21 MPG highway, only slightly lower than the sedan's 18/26 MPG rating. Paduch said the difference in gas expenses can be compensated by no longer buying snow tires on an annual basis.
       The remaining fleet is made up of 2005 and 2008 Crown Victorias. Paduch said he requested his officers to drive the older cars once or twice a week during their shifts to spread out the mileage to keep them running longer.
      


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