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The paint job may stay the same, but city officials are ready to phase in the new Chevrolet Caprice PPV as the successor to the Omaha Police Department's trusty Crown Victoria.
We reported Saturday that city finance officials and members of the City Council are moving forward with a proposal to begin leasing new Chevrolet Caprice police cruisers and Ford Explorer sport-utility vehicles by year's end.
The city hopes to replace much of the city's fleet of 242 black-and-white cruisers with leased vehicles by 2015. City officials claim leasing the new vehicles not only will noticeably update the look of the department's cruisers, it will save hundreds of thousands of dollars in maintenance and repair costs.
Since Ford announced plans to stop manufacturing its workhorse Crown Victoria Police Interceptors (the full-size, rear-wheel-drive sedans that make up about 70 percent of the nation's police fleet), law enforcement agencies nationwide have been wrangling over potential replacements.
Three of the primary options: the Caprice PPV, the Dodge Charger Pursuit and Ford's new, souped-up Interceptor.
This Caprice appears to be no slouch, however.
I'm told Omaha will equip its cruisers with an optional 6.0L V8 engine, which Chevy says delivers a test-track top speed of 154 mph. Six-speed transmission, eight air bags and rear-wheel drive, too. The apparent cost of the new cruisers includes rifle mounts, cages, decals, light bars and so forth — but not in-car computer systems and dashboard cameras. That stuff is existing equipment that can be transferred over from old cars.
Early last year, The World-Herald interviewed city equipment service boss Marc McCoy and Omaha Police Sgt. Stefan Davis after they test-drove the PPV on a Kansas City test track.
"It's an impressive car," McCoy said of the cruiser. "It handled well, had good power."
Davis said he liked the Caprice's stability control. "The one turn they had set up had a little bit of ice on it," he said. "Before I could react to the vehicle sliding, the car corrected itself."