New Patrol Vehicle
The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department unveiled to the public on Saturday, June 1 a marked, police-package Chevrolet Tahoe that now will serve as the agency’s standard patrol vehicle. The marked Chevrolet Tahoe was unveiled during a car and motorcycle show that Finish Line Details conducted at 1765-A Augusta Highway, Lexington.
Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said the Chevrolet Tahoe will replace the Ford Crown Victoria, which served for many years as the agency’s standard patrol vehicle. The Chevrolet Tahoe will feature a new standard color of white, new markings and new graphics.
Like many law enforcement agencies in the United States, the Sheriff’s Department had to choose a new make and model to use as the agency’s standard marked patrol vehicle because the Ford Motor Company discontinued production of the Ford Crown Victoria in 2012, Metts said.
The Sheriff’s Department conducted an extensive cost-benefit analysis of all police-package motor vehicles that law enforcement agencies can buy under contracts that the state of South Carolina has negotiated with motor vehicle manufacturers, Metts said. The agency reviewed recommendations made by the Lexington County Fleet Services Department, which performs maintenance and repair work on the Sheriff’s Department motor vehicle fleet. The agency also reviewed a 2012 Michigan State Police study of police-package motor vehicles.
The goal of the Sheriff’s Department was to identify the motor vehicle that would best meet the needs of deputies and taxpayers in Lexington County, Metts said.
After the Sheriff’s Department conducted the cost-benefit analysis of all available police-package patrol motor vehicles, the Chevrolet Tahoe and Chevrolet Caprice emerged as the two front-runners for the agency’s new patrol vehicle, Metts said.
The Sheriff’s Department used costs associated with the Ford Crown Victoria as a baseline for identifying the motor vehicle that would best meet the needs of the agency and taxpayers, Metts said. The agency found that the Chevrolet Tahoe was more fuel-efficient than the Ford Crown Victoria and had a much longer operational life, on average, than the Chevrolet Caprice. The 2012 Michigan State Police study also rated the Chevrolet Tahoe as the best patrol motor vehicle in terms of performance and safety for law enforcement officers.
The 2012 police-package Chevrolet Tahoe can be driven, on average, for 160,000 miles, compared with an average operational life of 145,000 miles for a 2012 police-package Chevrolet Caprice, Metts said. The Sheriff’s Department will have to replace Chevrolet Tahoes less frequently, which will save taxpayers money.
The estimated lifetime cost-per-mile to operate a 2012 police-package Chevrolet Tahoe is 38 cents, compared with 41 cents for a 2012 police-package Chevrolet Caprice and 41 cents for a 2011 police-package Ford Crown Victoria, Metts said.
Standard replacement parts for the Chevrolet Tahoe cost about 50 percent less than standard replacement parts for the Chevrolet Caprice, which is manufactured in Australia, Metts said. The Chevrolet Tahoe and replacement parts for the Tahoe are manufactured in the United States. In addition, it cost $26,778 to buy a 2012 police-package Chevrolet Tahoe, compared with the cost of $27,982 to buy a 2012 police-package Chevrolet Caprice.
“We found that the police-package Chevrolet Tahoe best meets our agency’s needs, based on performance, safety, fuel efficiency and long-term maintenance costs,” Metts said. “Over the next several years, our agency steadily will integrate Chevrolet Tahoes into our motor vehicle fleet as we decommission Ford Crown Victorias.”