Saanich police officers will spend the next year test driving the best police vehicles on the market and putting them through the wringer.
The department will purchase three new vehicles that have the potential to replace the now-discontinued Ford Crown Victorias, which have been the standard cop car in Saanich for more than a decade.
“We replace a few vehicles a year, so of course age and kilometre-age determines that,” said Sgt. Steve Irwin, who sat on the department’s patrol car review committee.
As the department hasn’t put the potential replacement vehicles through the test of daily use, the committee decided it would purchase three different vehicles to see which one performs best over the year.
“We’re going to take real and anecdotal evidence from our members driving these vehicles to (determine) what the future will likely hold,” Irwin said.
The vehicles Saanich will be testing are a Dodge Charger Pursuit, a Ford Interceptor sedan, and a Ford Interceptor SUV.
“The kinds of things we’re looking at are comfort – a patrol car, for a frontline officer, is their office. When they’re spending six to eight hours a day in a car, they need to be comfortable,” Irwin said. “And of course things like reliability and down time. And our mechanic is going to look at ease of working on the vehicles, and support from the manufacturer.”
He anticipates the committee will reconvene later next year to make a final selection. Purchasing new vehicles this year will cost $100,000.
Irwin says he expects the new vehicles to be equipped with all of Saanich police’s technology and on the road by January 2014.