Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is re-evaluating its decision to go with the Chevrolet Caprice PPV as its primary patrol car and is looking at other available vehicles. The city originally purchased seven Caprice PPVs in late 2012 but since then has been testing Ford's and Chrysler's latest police models in order to make a final decision on a primary patrol car.

"Cedar Rapids moved forward with the Caprice because at the time of implementation Ford had yet to introduce mass production of the Interceptor, and the Charger had less interior square footage than the Caprice," Fleet Services Manager Dennis Hogan told Government Fleet magazine. "When evaluating what was available, the Caprice seemed to give our officers the most room and operational response. Clearly, we had to move forward based on what was available, understanding that once we had all of the Big Three with police package vehicles in production, we would re-evaluate."

The city currently has the seven Caprice PPV patrol cars previously purchased in service and will be placing another six into service in the coming months, Hogan said. The city purchased the existing vehicles on the state contract so it isn't under any obligation to purchase more.

"Our plan, should our chief approve of the recommendation, is to run the Caprices through their normal life cycle on front line patrol," he said. He added that the life cycle for patrol cars in service in Cedar Rapids is five years.

Hogan explained that although the city is moving away from the Caprice as its primary vehicle, the city doesn't have specific issues with the Caprice. Rather, other vehicles are likely more suited to meet the city police department's operational needs in this case.

"We do not have significant issues with the Caprice package and view it as a solid police patrol vehicle, but our evaluation brought our officers and committee members to the conclusion that the Interceptor is a better fit for our fleet," Hogan said. "In the end, it is important that as a fleet organization, we provide our officers with the best-suited and accepted vehicle for their needs. We will never see a large police car again, so it is our task to make the best selection from what is available to us."

Hogan offered some examples of features of the Interceptor that interested those involved in the selection process including the column shifter, the passenger side door locks, the key configuration and coding, a dashboard pocket to level mount the radar unit, the ability to retrofit some of the department's existing Crown Victoria materials to the Interceptor, and programmable command buttons on the steering wheel.

By Greg Basich