SEATTLE – Seattle police are looking for new squad cars and the six models they like best are all gas guzzlers.
The department is road testing six different vehicles to determine which one - maybe two - will replace the classic Crown Victoria, which Ford is discontinuing. Police say because of the amount of equipment and their flashing lights, they need a big car with a lot of battery power. So, of course, a hybrid would never work for them.
Seattle Police Chief John Diaz will make the final decision on which vehicles will represent the department in the future. The finalists are: Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Caprice, Chevrolet Tahoe,
Ford Interceptor Sedan, Ford Interceptor Utility and Dodge Charger.
But Seattleites on the street tell us that fuel efficiency should be a must for the department.
"Might as well be efficient as long as we're paying for it," said one person.
The Tahoe gets 15 miles per gallon (mpg), the Charger 16 mpg and the Ford Interceptor 19 mpg.
KING 5's car expert Tom Voelk agrees with police saying a hybrid would never do and that they need power behind the wheel.
"They need performance. They have to have something that's going to catch the bad guy," he said.
The five precincts will take turns testing the vehicles for six weeks. Officers participating in the survey will give a detailed evaluation about which one they prefer and why they chose one over the other.
No matter which vehicle is chosen, it will get some new features including LED lighting to cut down on battery use, rear sensors to warn the officer about possible collisions and an anti-theft system. It will also include what the department calls “Idle Right Technology” to cut down on emissions when the vehicle is parked at a scene.
The department is also considering whether to change the light blue color scheme currently seen on SPD vehicles to a classic black and white. The logo on the door may also change as well as the patch that appears on the shoulder of officers’ uniforms. The department said there is no guarantee that any changes will be made.
KING 5's Travis Pittman and Linda Brill contributed to this report.