Cedar Rapids Police Department will replace Crown Vics with Chevy Caprice PPVs

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Chevrolet bearing a former model name, the Caprice, will begin later this year to replace the Police Department’s much beloved Ford Crown Victoria patrol cars.

This week, the City Council will buy a first 10 Caprice PPVs — Police Patrol Vehicles — as the Police Department begins to say goodbye to its fleet of Crown Victorias, a model which Ford plans to stop manufacturing this year.

The goal is to have 72 Caprice PPVs on the street in six years, Dennis Hogan, the city’s fleet services manager, said Monday.

Last year, the department purchased what it thought would be its last 11 Crown Victorias, though police Capt. Steve O’Konek on Monday said the department still had a chance to make another, final purchase of Crowe Victorias this summer. Instead, the department opted to make a switch “to modernize our fleet as soon as possible,” he said.

O’Konek and Hogan said a city team, which included police commanders and police officers, spent time studying the three options for police vehicles — the Caprice PPV, the Dodge Charger and Ford’s new Police Interceptor. Hogan and representatives of the Police Department each attended a trade show to look at the options, though O’Konek noted that the new Ford vehicle was not available to drive.

O’Konek said a “pretty good consensus” of Police Department support led to the decision to buy the Caprice. The Caprice’s specifications met the Police Department’s needs, including adequate interior space, he said.

Hogan said the Caprice “really stood out for us” in terms of size, visibility and the ability to handle all the gear that the department puts into each of the police officer “mobile offices.”

He said the V-8 Caprices will provide a little better fuel economy and the same or “marginally better” performance than the V-8 Crown Victorias.

The total cost for 10 Caprices purchased through a state of Iowa bid from Karl Chevrolet, Ankeny, Iowa, is $272,168. The cars are expected to arrive in four to five months, Hogan said.

O’Konek said it costs the department an additional $20,000 or more to outfit a squad car with lights, computer, video camera, radar, cages and other items.

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