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Choosing Caprice

The Montclair (Calif.) Police Department has made its choice. The agency will replace its fleet of Ford Crown Vics with Chevy Caprice PPVs.

November 11, 2011  |  by - Also by this author

Montclair (Calif.) PD's Capt. Michael deMoet. Photo: Paul Clinton.
Montclair (Calif.) PD's Capt. Michael deMoet. Photo: Paul Clinton.

Montclair, Calif., police officers were initially skeptical about the agency's two Chevy Caprice PPV sedans-among the first in the nation to arrive in the field. Officers told command staff that the vehicles looked smaller than their Ford Crown Vics.

Chief Keith Jones and Capt. Mike deMoet then had officers sit in the back seats of both the Caprice and Crown Vic to compare them.

They noticed the spacious headroom of the Caprice. And when sitting in the rear of the Crown Vic, officers bumped their knees against the back seats. The officers then began to reconsider their view of the car, deMoet says. The Montclair PD has chosen the vehicle as its new black-and-white; it offers plenty of other advantages over the Crown Vics, deMoet says.

The Montclair PD took delivery of two white, detective versions (9C3) in September for testing by the chief and captain. These cars are nearly identical to the patrol version (9C1), except for location of the shifter. The 9C3's shifter is located in the center of the console, while the 9C1 shifter is located on the left side of the console to accommodate police equipment.

The department, which has 52 sworn officers, plans to replace its 20 vehicles with Caprice patrol cars beginning next year, Chief Jones says. The agency plans to make its initial purchase in July, after the start of the city's fiscal year. The agency will purchase new vehicles to replace Crown Vics that go out of service.

Other deciding factors that tipped the agency to the Caprice included the 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, 6.0-liter V-8 engine, and dynamic braking.

"One of the biggest things I like is the braking," Chief Jones says. "Usually when you do hard braking, the car will dip. This car didn't do that. It stayed straight and level."

The Forsyth County (Ga.) Sheriff's Office was the first law enforcement agency to receive the detective version of the 2011 Caprice. The patrol version is beginning to arrive for agencies as the year ends.

Tags: Montclair (Calif.) PD, Chevrolet Caprice, Managing a Police Fleet

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Comments (13)

Displaying 1 - 13 of 13

Wes @ 12/6/2011 7:18 PM

Just try sitting in the drivers seat in uniform including duty belt. What a joke.

Don @ 12/7/2011 1:19 PM

I agree with Wes, im 5'10...165lb not great...I would stay with the crown...be safe everyone...

Scott @ 12/16/2011 1:35 PM

Guys, you do realize they're talking about the new Caprice...not the Impala, right? And the option of "stay(ing) with the crown" isn't an option anymore, as production was stopped months ago. The Caprice, like it or not, IS the largest police sedan on the market now.

Jeff @ 12/31/2011 12:50 PM

The new Chevy Caprice is based on the the Australian SS Commodore and I can tell ya that they love 'em back home, no complaints that I'm aware of and they've been using them for years.

Jim @ 1/20/2012 6:20 AM

I drive a 2011 Caprice (detective model). The car is fast and brakes well. It is comfortable to drive. It performed superbly on a race track and was comparable to the hemi Chargers. Had some minor issues, but so did our Chargers. They cost more than the Chargers so, the Chargers may get the nod for fleet purposes. I think the 2012 Chargers have a similar 100k warranty.

Brian @ 1/24/2012 10:52 PM

I have heard great things about this car but I am curious how a computer fits in with the console shifter. I know they moved it far to the left but the computer would seem to have to sit fairly far into the passenger side which is not safe for a passenger officer.

JP @ 2/15/2012 5:27 AM

I was issued a 2011 Caprice back in December. This is a full marked patrol unit. Ours are take home cars and to date mine has 8300 miles on it. All I can say is AWESOME!! These cars are out of this world. There is not one thing I dislike on the car...nothing.

Over the years I have had a 1995 and a 1996 Caprice, both LT1 cars. They were outstanding cars. From the Caprice I was issued a Ford CV in 97. Talk about a bummer! Since that 97 CV I have also had a 03,04 and 05 Ford CV along with a current 09 CV for my PT job. I was also issued a 07 Charger at my FT job in 07. I drove the thing 3 months and swapped it out for a 05 CV from the motor pool. I hated that Charger from day 2.

The Ford CV was popular because there wasn't anything else. They were durable and forgiving but they didn't do anything real well. They also sucked on mileage big time especially considering their performance level...uh lack of performance level that is.

This current 11 Caprice is hands down the best police car I have ever driven. The thing is a beast. They have awesome performance. They are easy to drive hard and are very predictable and stable. Combined with the stable trac/ traction control they do very well in on snow covered roads. The brakes are just plain mind boggling. I have never driven a vehicle with brakes this good. And to top it all off I am averaging 14 mpg doing shift work. To all the people that say the gear selector is in a bad place, well you just need to drive one. I would rather have the gear selector center mounted as it is than column mounted like I was used to for so many years. Trust me it is not a problem.

Bottom line after having many patrol cars over the years the Caprice is IMO the best police car that has ever hit the road. Go find one that is setup for patrol work and drive it. You will love it.

Ragan @ 2/20/2012 7:48 PM

Someone forgot to tell Chevy we are the fattest country on EARTH

CMR @ 3/9/2012 9:39 PM

One very important detail that keeps getting overlooked, is that Chevrolet's new Caprice is also a VERY safe vehicle, should it be involved in a collision. The Ford Crown Vic & the previous Chevy Caprice, would crumple like aluminium foil in an accident.

Considering how many police officers die in traffic collisions, I'm very surprised this car's exceptional structural integrity isn't better covered by reviewers.

William @ 3/22/2012 10:01 AM

I have the new caprice, my department bought a couple of them and I got one. The V8 is stout and very fast, the interior is nice and with lots of space. However all this is nice but the freaking thing wont stop for nothing. Chevrolet must have used bicycle brakes on this thing or something because they suck. Im also a driving instructor for my department. Our emergency vehicle operations course is pretty intense and has several zones for threshold braking. I drove my caprice on the course and where I usually braked on the course with my crown vic with plently of road to spare and stop proficiently, the caprice would not stop anywhere close to this, I plowed through the intersection and hit like ten cones. The brakes are horrible on this thing... I made my department aware and they probably wont buy any more of these. So far they only bought four to test and those four are currently in the shop for aftermarket brake upgrades. So if you have a large department and are looking at the caprice hopefully you have the budget to buy aftermarket braking products for this vehilce

Adamj @ 4/5/2012 7:30 PM

the caprice seems to be built well,and may excel in a contest with the vic,but im not one to shoot a faithful older horse. The crown victoria is a reliable,strong,well built car,and i will miss the style,room,and class of this long serving car

Ima Leprechaun @ 7/24/2012 10:58 PM

I always loved Chevy. Chrysler and Dodges had bad breaks that loved to fade when you really needed them. The old Fords pre-computers were great but tempremental. Jeep not the best thing to get hit in. I cannot remember if it was dodge that had the steering problem, the car went straight when you turned the wheel in high speed pursuit. They all have their quirks but Chevy was always the best all round car for me, great breaks that never faded. Plus the older pre-computer chevys were fast.

ChristinaDraves @ 9/9/2012 12:58 AM

" I drove my caprice on the course and where I usually braked on the course with my crown vic with plently of road to spare and stop proficiently, the caprice would not stop anywhere close to this, I plowed through the intersection and hit like ten cones. "

Id say get em checked. Testing by both Michigan and LA county showed they braked way better than the Vic's...

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