Sedans Out; Suvs Suit Henderson Police Fine
The Henderson police force in Las Vegas Valley is using SUVs as patrol cars, instead of the sedans that have traditionally served that purpose. The police force has accumulated a fleet of 68 Chevrolet Tahoes over the past two years and has not purchased a Ford Crown Victoria cruiser for patrol use since 2000.
Henderson Deputy Chief Monty Sparks says that the SUVs provide enough room for police to carry all their equipment. However the Michigan State Police, who test patrol vehicles each year, reported in 2002 that special service Tahoes are not engineered for high-speed chases and are instead geared toward transporting equipment.
Sparks claims that the police force has not encountered any problems with the SUVs and that they do not pose a safety hazard. Other police departments in the county are hesitant to use the SUVs for pursuit.
Las Vegas Police Capt. Randy Oaks says that his department has an unwritten policy that limits SUVs’ use in pursuits due to safety and liability concerns. “The first time an officer rolls one and is injured or injures a citizen, the entity might as well just take out the checkbook,” he states.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Las Vegas Review-Journal (03/10/03) P. 1B; Packer, Adrienne.