New look for Oak Park police cars

Public Works arranged purchase of five new Dodge Chargers and a Ford Explorer

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By Devin Rose

Staff Reporter

New police cars hitting the streets of Oak Park are more spacious and get better fuel mileage than the previous discontinued model.

The village's Public Works Department went through a state bid process to purchase the five Dodge Chargers for about $23,000 each, said Deputy Police Chief Anthony Ambrose. The four-door Chargers have rear-wheel drive with a good amount of trunk and interior space to accommodate cameras, radios and computers. It's the first year the department has had this model, said Ken Crowley, a senior mechanic for Fleet Services. Chargers have been out for about four years.

Fleet Services Supervisor Ron Fantetti said his staff considers each vehicle's age and mileage when they're looking to make replacements. Vehicles are switched out every 4-10 years, he said. Police had been using Ford Crown Victorias since about 1997, but those have been discontinued in the last couple years

"Size is the primary reason we went with them," Fantetti said of the switch to Chargers.

In addition to the four marked and one unmarked Chargers — including one evidence technician vehicle and one that Crowley was still building — Fleet Services also purchased a Ford Explorer. Fanfetti said the police utility vehicle with all-wheel drive cost about $26,000.

Ambrose said the department still has a couple of Crown Victorias, Chevy Impalas and a Chevy Tahoe. Fleet Services has a chart of those vehicles to keep track of when they might need to be replaced. The only time they don't stand by the chart is if a car is totaled.

After police got the Chargers a couple of months ago, Ambrose said they also had to order equipment like lights and cages because the equipment from the older vehicles is not interchangeable. Crowley added that the graphics production and equipment installation is done in-house, so they know it's done correctly.

He said eventually they'd like to have all the same vehicles, and to that end they'll see how durable the Charger is throughout the next year.

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Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 20th, 2012 3:34 PM

Johnson, "Chicago police spokesman disputes that, saying that only 25 Tahoes from a total fleet of 3,000 vehicles needed towing during the storm." "In some conditions you could be driving an M-1 Abrams tank and you're not going to move" when we went to replace this fleet because these have been tested by numerous agencies across the United States and most of the agencies we talked to use them in the snow.


Posted: August 20th, 2012 1:00 PM

Q, I thought it was common knowledge that almost all of CPD's Tahoe's are rear-wheel drive (again, terrible at driving in the snow if you've ever experienced it). Here is some more info for you.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 19th, 2012 9:34 PM

Oh wow, you have a wandering mind and it doesn't include reading all posts before showing you don't have a clue what you are responding to. That's the difference between you, the self misinformed person and Q.

Oh wow  

Posted: August 19th, 2012 6:48 PM

Q is still making uninformed assertions and refusing to back down when he is refuted by multiple people! Obviously Q hasn't noticed that departments all over have switched to new cars, mostly Chargers, but some to newer Ford models and others...or that CPD reversed it decision to replace Crown Vic with Tahoes a year ago. What made them want the Tahoe in the first place? Its performance in an annual vehicle test by Michigan State police. Q don't have two clues!!!Lol

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 7:14 PM

Wondering, 4 wheel drives or 2 wheel drives all stop the same, so just because you have a 4 wheel drive, don't expect better results. 4 Wheel drives are better in the Snow, because all 4 tires are working. With a two wheel drive, only 2 wheels are working. The wider and lower vehicles help decrease roll overs.


Posted: August 17th, 2012 5:48 PM

Q, the city does not purchase 4WD with their Tahoes and they drive horribly in snow , not much better on simply wet streets. I would not want to drive one aggressively 4WD or not, though some SUV's are supposed to corner well without rolling but I'm not sure which those are.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 12:04 PM

Johnson, who told you they weren't 4 wheel drive? They are very good in Snow.


Posted: August 17th, 2012 9:48 AM

@Q, who told you that CPD Tahoes perform well in the snow? Ask anyone and they'll tell you the Tahoes perform ridiculously poorly in the snow. An SUV with all-wheel drive should be good in the snow right? They are, but the problem is that CPD's Tahoes are rear-wheel drive. Try driving that in the snow.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 16th, 2012 11:07 AM

forbes2000, performance wasn't a problem if you read the article. The cost of the vehicle and the miles per gallon made the decision to hold off on buying anymore.

forbes2000 from Oak Park  

Posted: August 16th, 2012 10:43 AM

To "Q from Oak Park": CPD SUVs (the Chevy Tahoe) actually perform very poorly in snow and ice. See this Sun Times article:

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 15th, 2012 10:23 PM

Twinsonic, you are 100 percent correct and I apologize for my wrong posting to the person who made the purchase. I like the new SUV models being used by CPD because they are good in Snow, and can carry a lot of equipment which saves time not requiring the Patrol Officer to pick up needed equipment. The 318 gives enough horse power to stay with most vehicles in populated areas. High speed highways chases are best left to ISPERN and State vehicles.


Posted: August 15th, 2012 9:39 PM

Q, I could tell you stories back in the early 80's that Oak Park bought Chrysler K cars (civilian models no less) put them in police service and the motors and transmission fell apart in short order during high speed runs, or the Slant six Dodge Diplomats AHBs that got worse gas mileage during patrols and lost high speed pursuits on the I-290 whereas a 318 V/8 four barrel would be prudent here. IMHO, fleet service is quite prudent here.


Posted: August 15th, 2012 9:24 PM

Q, You need to realize that the Ford Crown Victoria have been discontinued early this year. That forced a lot of towns, cities, and states to now look for a alternatives for first time since the Crown Vic won the Michigan State Police back in 1997. The Crown Vic design was made back in 1979! If Oak Park had a choice, they would stay with the Crown Vic, due to price, design, and ease of repair. Oak Park is not the only town to scratch its head on what cars to buy.


Posted: August 15th, 2012 9:13 PM

The Dodge Charger have proven themselves in performance, reliablity, and with the V-6 quite economical compared to the the Ford Crown Victoria. I wouldn't be surprised if the Charger was also the lowest bid at the state level compared to Chevy Caprice, Impala, and Tahoe. Add the Ford Police Interceptor to the list. Chrysler historically in the 1960's, 1970's and the 1980's had the lowest bid but the best performance and reliability bar none. Nice Job!!!!

Redbraid from Oak Park  

Posted: August 15th, 2012 8:35 PM

2011 was the first year for the newly designed Chargers, 2012 is the first year for the new Fords, the Chavy Caprice and Tahoe are still very expensive and use alot more fuel. All departments are feeling out the new vehicles for durability in severe duty use. The Crown Victoria was discontinued for 2012 and that was the primary squad car across the nation. It is not just a matter of what will work it also must be what lasts.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 15th, 2012 6:25 PM

joe friday, why don't read where it says replace the entire fleet. You find what works for your area of the Country, and by now, if you haven't, you aren't the right person. No where did I say replace the entire fleet of Police units. Vehicle years over lap. What I wrote is common sense. The mistake people with common sense make is thinking everyone has common sense.

joe friday  

Posted: August 15th, 2012 4:17 PM

Q from Oak Park must be a purchasing mgr looking for work. Q, got news for you, what works for one department doesn't always work for another. Get a clue. Municipalities don't always replace a fleet with one swooping move, for many reasons, one of which being that if they get some new vehicles, in this case police cars, and they don't work out for whatever reason, they aren't saddled with 15/20 of the same problem(s). Your oak park blinders need to come off...

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 15th, 2012 3:32 PM

Cont... It just doesn't make sense that you need to try out some vehicles. Get a new person for purchasing vehicles in Oak Park.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 15th, 2012 3:31 PM

Cont... fits their need. People who buy car's generally don't buy a car and say lets try it out. They know what the intended use is going to be, they research on how previous models have performed. They review improvements, compare prices, etc.... No one goes out and buys a vehicle to test it out for a year, but when you are buying with tax dollars, you can do things like trying things out. Police vehicles are not something new, and you need to try out some vehicles.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 15th, 2012 3:27 PM

Crowley now is going to test the Charger's throughout the next year to find out how they do. That is a waste of money. There are Police Departments across the Country. You collect that information and make your decision based on what your requirements are. You don't go out and buy vehicles saying you will try them. You can even ask Oak Park Police Officer's what would make a better vehicle to enhance their performance. How many people go out a buy a vehicle to find out if it is what Cont...

T.J. from Oak Park  

Posted: August 15th, 2012 2:09 PM

Bring back the K car. Perfect for mall security or OPPD.


Posted: August 15th, 2012 12:40 PM

Beautiful cars. More spacious so our 'big boys' in blue have more room to sit in those cars!


Posted: August 15th, 2012 9:50 AM

I thought they were switching over to the Tahoes?

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