Bold, new look for MPD
By Bob Hogan
The Madison Police Department (MPD) got a very visible new look this week as it placed new police cars in service. Two new 2013 Ford Taurus “Police Interceptors," decked out in a bold new black and white color scheme, joined the six-car Madison patrol fleet as replacements for its aging Ford Crown Victoria patrol cars. A third Taurus is planned for this budget year with the ultimate replacement of the remaining Crown Vics over the next several years, according to City Manager David Nunn.
The new Taurus “Police Interceptors” are technically very advanced, state of the art police cars and carry a bold new look for Madison. According to Chief Travis Stapp, “the introduction of a totally new model police car in Madison also gave us the opportunity to redesign our car colors and lettering at no extra cost.” The new Taurus, decked out with black body and white doors/roof, provides a striking difference to the sedate white Crown Victoria patrol cars that have plied the streets of Madison since the early 1990s. “We wanted to create a nice retro/heritage look for these new cars”, said Chief Stapp.
Prior to the early 1990’s Madison’s police cars were all the then typical police black and white with red roof “gumball” lights. “Wow! Look at that!” seems to be the typical public response to the new cars.
MPD Cpl. Phillip Malcom has been driving PD-1, the first new Taurus, for the past week and has good things to say about the new car. “The new Taurus is very drivable. It handles better than the old Crown Vics and has better cornering and braking,” said Malcom.
Ford, long the dominant supplier of police cars to the nation and Madison, stopped producing the Crown Victoria police cruiser in August 2011 because it had become a very outdated vehicle design. The police cruiser version was first introduced in 1983. “Historically, the Madison PD has operated their Ford Crown Vics for 100,000 to 120,000 miles when increased maintenance costs then begin to offset the purchase price of a new vehicle,” according to Chief Stapp. The new Taurus interceptors are being purchased on a Georgia state contract rate and are being delivered through Madison’s Youngblood Motors. “We do shop local,” says Chief Stapp. The price is about $25,000 per car. All basic police gear; radios, cameras, computers, etc. are transferred from the old car to the new one thus saving costs. When retired from police duty, the MPD Crown Vics are recycled through other Madison City departments where they will receive less strenuous use.
The new Taurus builds on Ford’s long reputation for dependable police cars and is touted to be safer and more economical to operate than the previous Crown Vics. Madison’s Taurus “Police Interceptor” vehicles come standard with all-wheel-drive (a police car first), a 280 HP V-6 engine, plus heavy duty front suspension, braking, cooling systems and a heavy duty frame. They provide increased office safety by being rear crash tested for 75 MPH. According to Chief Stapp, “The Taurus is getting 16-17 MPG for in-Madison driving, as compared with 10-11 MPG for the old Crown Vics, because of the new V-6 engine and lighter car weight. “ The new cars are also equipped with a high intensity LED light bar for increased visibility.
The Ford Taurus costs less than the Dodge and Chevrolet police car offerings and has lower projected maintenance costs. It also comes with all-wheel-drive as a standard feature to provide better handling and all-weather driving (rain!) vs. the traditional front wheel drive of other cruisers. “The choice on car make and colors was left up to Chief Stapp,” says David Nunn. “I’m very please with the results. The new cars are quite stylish and will continue to bring pride to both Madison and the Madison PD.”
Printed in the August 23, 2012 edition