ECPD officially saying goodbye to Crown Vic, hello to new SUV - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

ECPD officially saying goodbye to Crown Vic, hello to new Utility vehicle

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - It's out with the old, and in with the new at the Eau Claire Police Department. Two years ago, Ford announced it would stop production of its Crown Victoria, a staple in police departments across the U.S. That forced many departments, including Eau Claire's, to find a new option.

"Crown Vics have been around since 1985, in my tenure here that's pretty much all that we had," says Eau Claire's Fleet and Facilities manager, Bob Boecher.

One of the Eau Claire Police Department's oldest members is officially on its way out.

"Our officers are in a vehicle, that is their office for eight plus hours a day," says Officer Kyle Roder.

The department spent a year testing out four different options, the Chevy Caprice, the Chevy Impala, the Ford Interceptor Sedan and the Ford Interceptor Utility. The differences were pretty clear right away.

"When I try to get in here, getting in, you're hitting your head on the post, and then the computer's stuck against your leg here, there's not enough room when the door closes, you're jammed in with your knee up against the steering wheel, there's just not enough room," says Lt. Jim Southworth, trying to fit in one of the smaller vehicles.  

"Over the years, the stationary equipment in the cars has been added. We now have cameras in the cars, we have laptop computers in the cars, we have GPS units that are throughout the vehicles, so there's a lot of things, including a printer now, so it really has become a mini office," says Roder.

In the end, the department chose the biggest, and by their standards, the best: Ford's Interceptor utility vehicle. A choice many officers are happy with.

"It's taller, there's more room, I don't have to duck my head, the computer's not in my lap, and the steering wheel's away from my knees," says Officer Matt O'Rourke, one of the Eau Claire Police Department's tallest officers.

Each vehicle will cost around three thousand dollars more up front, but the city says, eventually, the costs could even out.

"The EPA estimates were 12-15% above what the crown Vic was," says Boecher. "We send them to auction, and we'll get traditionally anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 for a used crown victoria. The SUV type vehicles, we'll get $7-8,000 back on them."

Not all of the squad cars will be replaced right away. The department replaces each it's fleet of 22 marked vehicles about every three years, or roughly 120,000 miles.

Out of the four options the department had, the Ford Interceptor Utility vehicle was the third cheapest, at around $25,000. The Crown Vics cost around $22,400.

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