Toledo police will soon be patrolling the city streets in new, safer vehicles.
The 117 new marked and unmarked cars, sport utility vehicles, vans, and wagons will go into use in the next two weeks, police Chief Derrick Diggs said.
New to the department’s fleet are 28 Ford Interceptor sedans, 25 Ford Interceptor SUVs, 51 Ford Fusions, seven E-150 vans, five police wagons, and one Ford Expedition.
The vehicles, purchased from Brondes Ford on Secor Road, cost the city $3,471,603, which includes the additional costs of in-car equipment.
Funding came from the city’s capital-improvements fund, said Jen Sorgenfrei, city spokesman.
PHOTO GALLERY: New Toledo Police vehicles
The marked units sport a new graphic design — thick sweeping dark-blue double stripes, the department logo, and “police” in large letters. Toledo, underneath “police,” is slightly smaller.
“They just look so dynamic,” Mayor Mike Bell said.
The Interceptor is a police-only vehicle, which means it can’t be purchased by the general public.
The vehicles are outfitted with special features that make it easier to driving in pursuit conditions, which often reach high speeds and require quick, tight maneuvering on city streets.
“It’s so much safer to drive,” police Sgt. Joe Heffernan said. “It really grips the road.”
The new vehicles are all-wheel drive, versus the rear-wheel drive available in the Crown Victoria models that the police use now. Police also should get better gas mileage from the Interceptors, with an estimated 16 city miles per gallon and 21 highway, a 20 percent improvement.
Also available in the new cars are dual spotlights, dual weapon racks (which will hold a shotgun and rifle), front seats designed for officers wearing duty belts and cutouts for handguns, improved LED lighting, extra-wide doors, and a 75 mph rear-crash rating.
Chief Diggs said the department is the first in the country to get the 2014 Ford vehicles. A call to a Ford media representative seeking confirmation was not returned Wednesday. The department started car shopping in the spring and began to receive the unfurnished vehicles in June.
Before adding the new SUVs to the fleet, the utility vehicles were used only by command officers, and not for transporting prisoners.
The new SUVs will be used for patrol, and they also can accommodate trips to the county jail, said Officer Tom Davis, who works in the department’s fleet management unit.