BLYTHEVILLE, ARKANSAS (KAIT)
The economy is changing the way one region eight police department does business.
How do they buy police cars or get warranty service when the local dealership closes?
That is a very pertinent question these days if you buy 8 or 9 police cars every year.
What are you going to do for warranty service for the first few years if you have no dealer close by?
Checking out what fleet cars these dealers have is the first step.
What do they have in stock? What can they provide? What kind of time frame are they looking at as far as delivery for current models or newer models?
Blytheville Police Chief Ross Thompson says all of the big three offer police packages with varying differences.
However, when shopping around you have to look at police cars differently than the family car.
Thompson, "It's not your average family car. It's not driven that way, they are not operated that way. It is a fleet vehicle and we look at fleet services."
For many years the Ford Crown Victoria has been the standard.
Lately though the Dodge Charger is working it's way in to police fleets.
Jonesboro has a few chargers. With the hemi engine they are fast but...
Jonesboro Police Chief Mike Yates, "We primarily focused on Chargers because of performance but given the transitions with Chrysler unless something changes pretty drastically we probably won't be even considering Chryslers in the future."
Yates said their problems revolved around obtaining parts for the Chargers after a couple of accidents.
But at least Jonesboro has a Dodge dealership.
Blytheville did consider Chargers this year. But their local Dodge dealer was on the Chrysler close list.
Thompson, "The closest one we had was in Osceola and they were slated to close and when we looked at that and at the national scene you saw there was a lot of question in General Motors and Chrysler at the time."
Taking this into consideration, Blytheville went with Ford Crown Victoria's again this year.
Who knows how long the Crown Victoria or the Impala or even the Charger is going to be built. What options are police departments going to have in the future?
The future may already be here with a company called Carbon Motors.
The carbon motors E7 is a purpose built police car designed and built in Indiana strictly for police use...it may be pulling you over some day soon.
Both police chiefs hope that whatever the future holds for police vehicles, police officers should be asked for input.
Thompson, "That's going to be the best feed back they will ever get is from those guys driving them everyday."