Polk sheriff buys three of last Crown Vics

Published 5:17 pm Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Polk expects Ford’s new Interceptor to be more expensive
Ford Motor Company is discontinuing the Crown Victoria after this year and Polk commissioners are discussing the future and possible costs of a new sheriff fleet.
Commissioners agreed Monday, Feb. 7 to purchase an additional Crown Victoria before the vehicles become unavailable.  During the county’s January meeting, commissioners agreed to purchase two Crown Victoria vehicles. The county moved forward with purchasing the vehicles now because the order has to be made next month in order to receive the last models.
The cost of the three new vehicles is $65,019, including taxes and tags. Polk County Sheriff Donald Hill agreed to equip the vehicles. The county agreed to fund two of the new vehicles with money saved from positions no longer funded in the travel and tourism office and the tax assessor’s office. The third vehicle will be purchased through savings in various departments. One vehicle costs $20, 501, with $1,172 costs for taxes and tag.
The county presented a video of Ford’s Crown Victoria replacement, the 2012 Ford Taurus Police Interceptor. Ford has designed two police package vehicles for next year; the Taurus and a sport utility Interceptor. The 2012 model police Interceptors should be available next fall.
Commissioners spoke with Sheriff Hill, who said he hasn’t received a quote on the new Taurus, but has heard they will cost more than the Crown Victoria. One of the issues the county will face in replacing its Crown Victoria fleet is equipment that cannot be traded between vehicles, such as cages, rifle racks and lights. It is not currently known what equipment, if anything, will be interchangeable between the Crown Victoria and the new vehicles.
The sheriff’s office has approximately 20 Ford Crown Victoria patrol cars currently in use.
Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson said Ford’s Crown Victoria is an excellent vehicle and Polk County is fortunate to have a local Ford dealership for purchases and services. Some other areas have switched to a Dodge Charger, but commissioners mentioned some issues with Chargers and since they want to continue purchasing locally, the county will likely choose the new Taurus in the future. By purchasing the three Crown Victoria vehicles now, the county could avoid having to purchase any new patrol cars until the 2012-2013 budget year.
There was some discussion regarding whether the county should wait and order the new Interceptors next year, but commissioners decided the county will save money this year by keeping the Crown Victoria. Commissioner Tom Pack added that usually a new model has issues when they first come out and it would be better to wait until those issues are corrected.
Commissioners also agreed to give the county manager’s Crown Victoria to the sheriff’s office next year and replace his vehicle with a Ford Fusion or something comparable with better fuel economy. Whitson’s vehicle currently has approximately 45,000 miles.
The new Taurus police Interceptor will have better fuel mileage than the Crown Victoria. It will come in either a 3.5 L V-6 standard that is front-wheel drive or the more expensive option of all-wheel drive, EcoBoost twin-turbocharged 3.5 V-6 that provides at least 365 horsepower. Whitson said if Polk goes with the new Ford, the standard V-6 would most likely be purchased.