A Versatile Vehicle
The Tahoe is not just designed for patrol. It’s an excellent special unit vehicle. Without a spit shield, it can fit five grown men in reasonable comfort. Mind you, we’re talking about normal-sized guys, and the middle guy in the back seat will not have as much arm room as he might like if everyone has on gun belts and rapid deployment gear, but five men can fit, get in and out quickly and easily, and wear their seat belts.
Tahoe is also great for K-9 units. Outfitted with aftermarket K-9 equipment, the rear cargo area, which is accessible via either the levered back window or the entire rear door, is well suited to quick dog deployment. In addition, the cargo hold is spacious and will fit the large amounts of equipment required by K-9 handlers. I only have one quibble with the cargo hold design: I wish GM had built in more secure hooks and cords to keep items from sliding around while the vehicle is in motion.
That’s a small concern, however, and it can be easily remedied with some aftermarket storage options. Some of the aftermarket storage made for the back of the Tahoe is so gorgeous and user-friendly that I would consider having it sit in my living room just to look at it. These specialty options make the Tahoe an extremely versatile police vehicle. It can be specifically outfitted for crime lab evidence collection, anti-terrorism response units, and as a supervisor command vehicle, just to name a few applications.
The Tahoe really shines as a supervisory vehicle. During the aftermath of a police shooting or in the middle of a barricade situation, it can be used as a command staging area. And the rear cargo area has enough room for white boards, allowing for planning of tactical entries as well as marking off the locations of the perimeter officers. The bumper is a convenient place to sit while the back door provides shade from the sun and elements. Folding down the back seat makes an additional flat area to take notes and move around needed supplies and gear.
As for hauling the bad guys, Chevy put in some nice touches that make the Tahoe very suitable for carting prisoners off to jail. Its interior surfaces are tough and easy to wash off and keep clean. This is important when removing vomit and other body fluids from the prisoner compartment regularly and thoroughly. No cop wants his or her car to smell like beer puke in the hot afternoon sun.
Worth the Price
The higher vehicle height of the Tahoe along with the intimidating exterior give it an advantage over many other police vehicles. It’s practical for daily use, and its size and solid structural design make it an excellent vehicle from a tactical perspective. The size and higher range of visibility make it superior to patrol sedans that sit lower and don‘t have as much room for clearance over objects and obstacles.
Lastly, from a cost and maintenance standpoint, the Tahoe will cost more on the front end but, in the long run, this versatile, powerful patrol vehicle offers a lot of bang for the buck.
Lori M. Connelly is a Phoenix Police officer as well as a freelance writer who reviews automobiles, police issues, and food.