Po­lice chiefs not happy with Dodge Charg­ers

The Standard Journal - - Police - By MELODY DAREING Staff Writer

The ma­jor­ity of top law en­force­ment of­fi­cers in Polk County are not thrilled with the Dodge Charger as a pa­trol car, but they also said there isn’t much of an al­ter­na­tive.

Dodge’s po­lice in­ter­cep­tor, first in­tro­duced in 2006, is a beefed-up ver­sion of the Charger Dodge first brought to the mar­ket in 2005. Since the first model, po­lice agencies around the coun­try have adopted the in­ter­cep­tor ve­hi­cle, in­clud­ing lo­cal law en­force­ment. Since then, po­lice of­fi­cers have had more trou­ble with the cars than they imag­ined.

“We’ve had is­sues with a cou­ple of them,” said Polk County Po­lice Chief Kenny Dodd. “They’ve had trou­ble with the front end. The brakes have been ter­ri­ble.”

Rock­mart Po­lice Chief Keith Sor­rells said his depart­ment at one time counted two Charg­ers in its ve­hi­cle in­ven­tory when he took over leader- ship. One was auc­tioned and the other re­mains on the road, he said.

“To be hon­est, as soon as I can get rid of the other, it will be gone,” Sor­rell said.

Sor­rells echoed the same com­plaints as Dodd, said one of the cars was in the shop when he ar­rived as his first day as chief. That car only had 15,000 miles on it, he said.

In con­strast, The Polk County Sher­iff’s Of­fice has ex­pe­ri­enced good out­comes with their Charg­ers, ac­cord­ing to Sher­iff Johnny Moats.

Moats said part of the rea­son for his cars last­ing longer is be­cause they aren’t used as pa­trol cars, which are on the road 24 hours seven days a week. The deputies’ Charg­ers are pri­mar­ily used to serve war­rants and are on the road about 12 hours a day, Moats said.

Sor­rells said he knows people are look­ing at the Charg­ers as pa­trol cars be­cause it looks good and is fast, but he isn’t con­cerned about be­ing fast in Polk County.

“We don’t need a car to do 150 m.p.h. in Rock­mart,” he said. Dodd agreed. “I per­son­ally want some­thing that is re­li­able and good on gas,” he said.

All three of the law en­force­ment of­fi­cials said they have looked at the new Ford prod­uct meant for po­lice use. The con­sen­sus is that it isn’t the best op­tion.

“I looked at the new Ford and I know they cost a bit more than the Charger and they’re small,” Moats said. “I had a hard time sit­ting in them.”

Dodd said the Ford in­ter­cep­tors are about $1,000 more than Charg­ers, and were so small that one of his big­ger of­fi­cers could barely get out of the front seat.

All three have one car in mind that suited po­lice well.

“In a per­fect world, I’d like to have the ( Ford) Crown Vic back,” Sor­rells said, adding that he has used a Crown Vic­to­ria for 36 of his 38 years in law en­force­ment.

Dodd said the rea­son­ing is sim­ple: The Ford Crown Vic was re­li­able.

“The Crown Vic was a proven ve­hi­cle. When they did away with it, it was dis­ap­point­ing,” Dodd said.

Moats said, “If the Crown Vic were still avail­able, we would go with them.”

As it is, Moats said his depart­ment’s next pur­chase will be Chevro­let Ta­hoes with all-wheel drive. The sher­iff said those could be used in sit­u­a­tions where there is snow and ice.

Lo­cal po­lice are re­think­ing their love of the Dodge Charger af­ter see­ing the main­te­nance costs.

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