Police look for replacement for Crown Vic patrol cars

EVERETT — The mega-makeover of Snohomish County police fleets may take awhile.

Most local police officers roll around in Ford Crown Victorias, but the classic “Crown Vic” was discontinued last year.

That meant mandatory car-shopping time for a lot of police administrators.

Even the departments that don’t need new cars or can’t afford new cars eventually must pick a basic cruiser going forward.

Everett police are taking their time on the decision, said officer Aaron Snell, department spokesman. They’ve winnowed the list to the Chevrolet Caprice, the new Ford Police Interceptor sedan and the Ford Police Interceptor sport utility vehicle.

The Caprice was the choice of the Washington State Patrol, the Snohomish and Island county sheriff’s offices and Lake Stevens police.

Monroe and Mukilteo police are sticking with the Ford models, while Arlington, Edmonds, Granite Falls and Mill Creek police are undecided.

Cops in Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace already drive Dodge Chargers.

While the cars themselves change, some departments also are talking about going back to a black-and-white color scheme, something they describe as both more traditional and more modern. Mukilteo and Snohomish police expect to roll out black-and-whites before long.

“We’re back to basics,” Snohomish Police Chief John Flood said. “Black and white represents law enforcement and public safety. Just like a traditional red fire truck, it’s going to be a traditional black-and-white police car.”

Meanwhile, folks in Everett may see a few new kinds of police cars around town.

Police here plan to order one each of the three models they’re considering and to test them on the road, Snell said.

They’ll ask the city shop mechanics for input on maintenance costs, and see how the cars hold up under different kinds of police work.

The tight corners of city streets have unique mechanical considerations compared with high-speed chases or country cruising.

“The whole process takes a while — to test, to evaluate, to make sure everything fits properly and to work within the budget,” Snell said.

Many agencies that haven’t picked a new police car say they’re waiting to see how the various models perform in neighboring cities.

Edmonds police anticipated the challenging decision, so they purchased extra Crown Vics last year, Sgt. Mike Blackburn said.

They plan for the current fleet to take them into 2015.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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