Arlington Police Make a Vehicle Switch


(Thursday, November 16, 2006 8:20 AM EST)

The Arlington Police Department is phasing in new Chevrolet Impalas for some of its personnel.

While patrol officers will continue to use Ford Crown Victorias, those in non-patrol positions soon will be - or in some cases already are - driving new Impalas.

Impalas “are more fuel efficient and they're cheaper,” said Capt. Kamran Afzal, the police department's fleet manager. “We're going to save money for the taxpayers.”

Equipment included, new Crown Victorias cost roughly $33,000, and Impalas cost a little more than $23,000.

“I just can't justify paying nine or 10 grand more for those [non-patrol] vehicles,” Afzal said.

Additionally, Impalas can get up to 27 miles to the gallon, whereas the Crown Victoria only gets between 10 to 12 miles to the gallon.

“We're always looking for ways to keep costs down,” said Police Chief Douglas Scott.

The department chose the V6-engined Impala as its preferred non-patrol vehicle, and has looked at Dodge Chargers as an option, as well, Scott said.

The department is sticking with Crown Victorias for their patrol officers because of their roomy interior. The equipment in a patrol car, such as computer systems and shotgun racks, take a lot of space. Fitting it all in an Impala would be uncomfortable, said Afzal.

The Crown Victorias also have more engine power and better windshield visibility, making them more suitable as patrol cars.

Two Impalas already are part of the county police fleet. Afzal plans on ordering 10 Impalas next year to replace eight Crown Victorias.

In total, the police department maintains a fleet of 257 vehicles.

The Impalas may not be as spacious, but officers have basically been happy with the change.

“The Crown Victoria handles a little better, because it's heavier,” said Officer Bob Wright. “But the interior of the Impala is much nicer.”

They also do not have the safety problems associated with the fuel tank that the Crown Victorias do, Scott said.

Chevrolet Impalas (left) are becoming the vehicle of choice, for non-patrol officers, in the Arlington Police Department.
(Photo by Kristen Armstrong)

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