Ottawa police show off new wheels

EXCLUSIVE – SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/2012/07/05/ottawa-police-show-off-new-ride

The familiar sight of a Crown Victoria police cruiser in your rear-view mirror will soon fade like a sunset.

The new Ottawa police fleet has arrived and the 2013 Ford Taurus Interceptors are bumping out the classic Crown Vics.

The first cruiser will be ready to hit the road in about three weeks.

By year’s end, “we should have 58 of the new Interceptors in service,” said Staff Sgt. Sean McDade from fleet services.

The cruisers come with a $1.6-million price tag and are in the midst of getting a “sexy” makeover.

“We had to design and change the look of the decals, in order for them to fit,” said McDade.

Chief Charles Bordeleau has approved three mockups and wants membership to vote.

The new car must have red and white reflective stripes, however, based on the outcome, new colours may be introduced.

Once the decision is made, “the police label, name, will be larger, and it will be very sharp,” said McDade.

All three options include a Canadian flag.

The changes, though, are about more than just aesthetics.

The Crown Vics, which have V8 engines, are also made by Ford and have been exclusively used since the ’90s.

“The new car, however, is a smaller engine, a V6, so it’s much better on fuel, however, they have not compromised any of the horsepower for the car,” said McDade.

The new cruisers come with far better ergonomic design.

Flexible laptops are likely one of the most noticeable changes.

The keyboard can be placed in an officer’s lap.

The old model is an actual laptop, “so the officers were continuously forced to twist their bodies in order to type, in order to view the screen,” said McDade.

In addition, updated IT software is being configured, and the laptops can fit into the new Interceptor, as well as the existing Crown Vic.

Once the electronic infrastructure has been installed, the cars are sent to the city garage to have the prisoner partition put in.

Then it comes back for final inspection, and decals are installed, said McDade.

With the new decals, it will take two days to outfit each patrol car.

The Crown Vics, though, aren’t completely obsolete.

The newest version of the retired model is currently being outfitted and should be around for about three years or 160,000 kms, the average shelf life of a police cruiser.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

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