Rockford police are driving around in new equipment. Squad cars are on the job, but the department doesn't own them yet. Officers are test driving a new lease program.
So far, police are happy to be behind the wheel of these 28 leased Chevy Caprices. It's the first step in a program to get patrols rolling.
"We've got good reviews from the officers they've been out now for the second week, we've been putting out one to two cars a week." -says Rockford Police Department Lieutenant Pat Hoey.
22 marked vehicles go to patrol, the remaining six are unmarked and split between traffic officers and the M3 Street Team.
Those are just the add-ons for this year. It'll take four years total to finish re-doing the fleet. Lt. Hoey says these are much needed upgrades.
"Some of our detectives are still driving 1998 cars, our oldest marked car is a 2004 with over 150,000 miles on it." -he says.
Those cars come with state-of-the-art features like LED lighting, interior, and some updated electronics.
"Due to the lease program, the low-interest loan the city got, we were able to outfit these cars with all-new equipment. The badly-needed laptop computers that go in each car are brand new." -says Hoey.
The new Caprices are a little different than the department's Ford Crown Victorias. Administrators picked the Chevys based on a study that Michigan State Police Officers completed. That type of car came in first in almost every category tested. As for the Fords, Hoey says once they're phased out they'll be put up for auction.
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