Government Fleet Top News

Officer's Death Prompts Switch Of Dallas Police Cars

January 12, 2005

DALLAS — Two years ago, Dallas police Officer Patrick Metzler died after his Ford Crown Victoria patrol car exploded following a rear-end collision. His death started a chain of events that reduced the number of available, working police vehicles officers could use to respond to calls, according to NBC5 news. After Metzler's death, the city tried integrating 100 natural gas-powered police cars into the patrol fleet. Patrol officers claimed the vehicles lacked the necessary speed and power required of police cars. The city also tried to leave cars on patrol longer between maintenance procedures in an effort to save money. The factors contributed to a shortage of available patrol cars before city officials opted to replace the aging fleet of Crown Victorias with Dodge Intrepids. Ford Motor Co. denies the Crown Victoria model poses a safety problem. Now, the last of the 80 new Intrepids are being prepared for patrol by police personnel. Preparations require that the cars be equipped with police identification decals, radios, and other equipment. The new vehicles have been met with mixed reviews among officers. "The downside is it's a little bit smaller, and when you load it up with a bunch of equipment and two large officers, such as myself, it's going to be a tight little fit," Glenn White, of the Dallas Police Association, said. "They handle pretty well, we found out from the people (who) tested them. It doesn't have a propensity to blow up in rear-end collisions like the Crown Victoria." The new vehicles promise benefits other than an added measure of safety from explosions. "New cars, virtually under warranty and brand new, last better or are more reliable, than old cars, especially those in excess of 100,000 miles," Sgt. Allan Brown said. "So, the reliability of the fleet and availability will go up substantially with these cars now in service."

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