Hales Corners - The Police Department will spend $51,000 to replace two of the seven squad cars in the police fleet.
Approval by the Village Board came Monday, on the heels of a recommendation by the Plan Commission and a year of research by the Police Department.
The department has five Crown Victoria squads, but Ford is no longer making that model. Knowing a change would be needed, Police Chief Eric Cera started researching replacement options.
'We took a step back last year (and) instead of just jumping in blindly, we thought that we would have the other departments around us make a determination, we'd wait about a year and then we would start surveying the other departments,' Cera said.
They began looking at vehicles in the spring of last year, seeing how officers and their gear would physically fit in the vehicles. The determination was to go with a Chevrolet Tahoe sports-utility vehicle and a Chevrolet Caprice sedan.
The department already has a Tahoe, which is used for specialty assignments such as handling tactical situations, processing crime scenes and responding to serious accidents. The fleet's Crown Victorias cannot fit the equipment needed for those situations.
The new Tahoe was not only chosen because it could fit more gear, but according to Cera, it holds its resale value.
'Even though it's a police-used vehicle, it's not hurt in the resale value,' Cera said. 'When we generally get rid of police cars people don't want to bid on them and they don't want to buy them.'
The Tahoe also achieves the same gas mileage and incurs the same maintenance costs as the department's sedan-style Crown Victorias.
'When you think of civilian and non-fleet use with the Tahoe, you think that it would take a lot of gas and that maintenance would be huge,' Cera said. 'What we and other departments found, with police-type driving, there is a lot of idling where the vehicle isn't driving, along with the sporadic activities where it's drive really fast to catch up, and all the stuff that impacts your fuel economy.'
He added that while parts cost more for the Tahoe, due to its heavy-duty nature it doesn't need to be repaired as often as sedans.
The new Caprice will serve a specialty and detective role for the fleet. This role is more akin to everyday family use, where mileage and everyday maintenance is more standard.
Cera said that nearly all patrol use vehicles get 10 mpg, a detective car's gas mileage can vary upon the vehicle.
The Police Department hopes to have the Tahoe in May and the Caprice by September.