WASTE WATCH: Police department's using SUV's instead of sedans

Updated: Monday, November 25 2013, 07:44 PM CST
WASTE WATCH: Police department
More police departments and sheriff's offices are opting for large SUV's instead of traditional sedans.
One of our viewers, Brian Nall, sent us an email wanting to know why the Escambia sheriff's office is wasting taxpayer money on SUV's.

He says everything costs more on an SUV, and he thinks they should just stick with cars.

The days of the traditional police cruiser may be in the rear-view mirror.
More and more law enforcement agencies are buying Sport Utility Vehicles.
It's a trend that seems set to continue - and one that has some people wondering if it's the best use of our tax dollars.

Next time you see flashing blue lights in your rear-view mirror - they'll likely be on top of a police SUV - instead of a police car.

Mike Wood/Pensacola Police Department
"Ford quit making the Crown Victoria, and we had a decision to make - every department in the country had a decision to make."

 Anthony Taylor/Pensacola - Waste Watch Tip: "There is no reason our police force needs to be driving around $40,000 gas guzzling SUV's on our dime.")

Anthony in Pensacola wonders why many agencies are deciding to go with what he calls "40,000 dollar, gas guzzling SUV's" on the tax payer's dime.

Local police and sheriff's are switching to Chevrolet Tahoes for patrol vehicles.
It makes sense when you think about it.

SUV's allow deputies to carry gear, personnel and suspects - and they're often safer, more versatile and powerful.

Rich Aloy/Santa Rosa Co. Sheriffs Office
"It allows us to be able to educate our new hires in an environment that's a little more roomy. You have the ability to have a little more equipment inside. Also we use them for our special operations folks that need to carry additional gear."

Mike Wood/Pensacola Police Department
"If you park this next to the civilian version, you will see that it's sitting three inches lower. The center of gravity is lower. That way this vehicle would, in a turn or evasive movement, would slide rather than flip."

Tahoes may cost a little more than other options - like the Dodge Charger and Chevy Impala.

A state of Florida contract for vehicles lists base prices these vehicles.
But are we getting more vehicle for the price?

Tahoes are proving to be more durable than Crown Victorias - especially on some rough county roads - allowing deputies to go places they can't in sedans.

Rich Aloy/Santa Rosa Co. Sheriffs Office
"In Santa Rosa County you know we have a lot of open land. And it's a good vehicle to use when we need to get out into the field, or we need to go just a little bit off road."

 Waste Watch Tip: "Why are Escambia sheriffs deputies riding around in Chevrolet Tahoes that get half the mpg of Impalas or Dodge Chargers?"

Some of our viewers question the gas mileage of the SUV compared to the sedan.
The Tahoe gets 13 miles per gallon - the newest Crown Vics get 14.

With all the stuff that gets loaded in a patrol vehicle - and the way officers have to drive them - good gas mileage can be hard to achieve - but the Tahoe tries...

Mike Wood/Pensacola Police Department
"The engines on these vehicles they are four cylinders while we're idling. We do a lot of sitting, a lot of idling, so it's not burning the gas that the Crown Vic did."

"Information that we've accumulated over several years of looking at these vehicles shows us that the gas mileage is actually better than the Crown Victoria."

Rich Aloy/Santa Rosa Co. Sheriffs Office
"It's a great vehicle. It's fuel consumption is not that high. Of course , you know, it all depends on how you drive it. But for law enforcement application it's a great vehicle. It's a great tool, there's really no downside to it."

Local police departments - The Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa sheriff's departments all have SUV's in their fleets - and all plan to add more in the future.

If you have an idea for a Waste Watch report visit weartv.com and click on Waste Watch to tell us about

WASTE WATCH: Police department's using SUV's instead of sedans
comments powered by Disqus

Friday Night Rivals

Gulf Coast Fun

Health Watch

Health News

WEAR-TV ABC 3 :: HomeFront Heroes

Home Improvement

Hurricane Center

News Links

Pay It Forward




Waste Watch National Stories

Waste Watch Tips

ABC 3 is stepping up. You can join our "Waste Watch". If you have a government waste story, Call us at 850-456-3333, or submit a tip below. Submit a Waste Watch Tip
Please re-enter the code shown in the image below.