Photo by Matt Stensland
Steamboat Springs Police Department officer Sam Silva works Tuesday inside the department’s newest patrol vehicle, an all-wheel-drive Dodge Charger. The smaller car was cheaper than the other option available to the city, a Chevrolet Tahoe.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs Police Department did not have to sacrifice looks when it started exploring ways to save money on patrol vehicles.
The newest addition to the fleet, a sleek, low-profile Dodge Charger, was unveiled Dec. 12 during a procession to the memorial service for Dale Coyner, a longtime police sergeant who died Dec. 4 from cancer. The Charger was about $8,000 cheaper than the $31,000 Chevrolet Tahoe, the other option available to the city through a state-run bidding process that capitalizes on quantity discounts. The city also could reap savings from the car’s fuel economy, which is about five miles per gallon better than the Tahoe.
“Everywhere within the city’s budget, we’re hoping to save some money,” Public Works Director Philo Shelton said.
The Charger purchase has raised questions from some Steamboat residents, who wonder why police would use a sedan when winter conditions exist half of the year.
“The Charger is an all-wheel-drive vehicle,” Shelton said. “I get asked that question a lot.”
Shelton said he thinks the Charger was a good option for Steamboat police officers, who primarily drive on paved roads.
“The use of the Charger is appropriate here,” Shelton said. “They’re already being used by the state. They have a reputation.”
Jack Coward, captain of the Colorado State Patrol’s five-county 4B troop, said its fleet includes 13 Ford Crown Victoria sedans, three Ford Expeditions and four Chargers.
“The Chargers have been doing fine,” Coward said. “The guys like them.”
With a good set of snow tires, Steamboat’s Charger has been a welcome addition to the fleet of Dodge Durangos.
“The guys like it,” Police Capt. Joel Rae said. “So far, so good.”
Speeders may not like the Charger. It has been tricked out with what Sgt. Rich Brown described as a state-of-the-art radar system.
Antennae are located in the front and back of the car and allow officers to check speed in a variety of driving and stationary scenarios. Registered speeds are displayed on the rear-view mirror.
“It’s pretty good,” Brown said.