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Three police car models taking Crown Vic’s place

July 7, 2012 | Virginia News

News Image CHESAPEAKE —The era of the classic cop cruiser - a Ford Crown Victoria - is screeching to a halt.

And police departments in Hampton Roads are revving up for the change.

Last year, Ford took its last orders for the 2011 Crown Vics and discontinued the line that police nationwide have depended on for two decades.

"You see a Crown Vic, no matter if it's (a) grandma or grandpa driving it, your immediate perception is the police," said Lt. Gerald Brandsasse, who oversees Suffolk's police fleet. "You tap the brake and then you figure out it's not a cop."

But what could replace this iconic brand?

Enter the Chevy Caprice and the Chevy Impala. The Ford Taurus, too.

The cop car of the future is smaller, more fuel-efficient and high-tech. Whether it's a Crown Vic or another make, they're more than just cars for police.

"That's their office," Brandsasse said.

Chesapeake, Suffolk and State Police are buying the 2013 Ford Taurus Police Interceptor available exclusively to law enforcement. The State Police have ordered 144, and they'll hit the streets in October, said Corinne Geller, a State Police spokeswoman.

So, is it sad to see the Crown Vics go?

"There's a degree of nostalgia that goes with the Crown Vic," said Chesapeake Police Chief Kelvin Wright, whose department is adding a retro twist:

To celebrate the city's 50th anniversary next year, they're going with black-and-white Interceptors.

The new cruisers will roll out at the end of the month.

While the Interceptor doesn't have the Crown Vic's smooth curves and size, Chesapeake police chose their model for its steering wheel controls that allow them to turn on police lights, roomy trunk, and seats that conform to the duty belts. It's got a V-6 engine, and the front-wheel drive makes it more affordable.

"We wanted to make sure it was not something very fancy," Wright said. "It's understated but very practical."

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