Sweet Home police get new vehicles as force switches to SUVs

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

In Sweet Home, the Dodge Charger police car will soon be a memory as the Sweet Home Police Department puts all but one out to pasture.

The School Resource Officer will use the one remaining Dodge Charger, as the patrol fleet is switched entirely to SUVs. The department’s four sergeants will begin sharing a 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe, which will serve as the department’s incident command vehicle.

For years, the department rotated vehicles out after they reached about 105,000 miles simply because of the amount of time they had to be out of service for repairs and maintenance, said Police Chief Jeff Lynn said. More recently, the department has bumped that number up to 125,000 to 130,000 miles.

In 2013, the department had to replace three patrol vehicles, all Chargers, that were totaled during a pursuit, Lynn said, and the department now has an older fleet.

Since then, the department has rotated out the last of its Chevrolet Impalas and begun using the Ford SUV Interceptor.

It currently has three of the Interceptors on the road, Lynn said. The Interceptor offers more room for gear, is pursuit-rated, and all-wheel drive.

The department will add a 2020 Dodge Durango this year, Lynn said.

“We could not get the Ford SUV Interceptor. They stopped production for modifications.”

That will give the department a chance to evaluate the Durango, he said.

The new incident command vehicle is the largest of the SUVs, Lynn said. It can carry more gear and supplies, and it has more features and technology. It will replace the patrol vehicles the sergeants have been using, including an old Ford Crown Victoria, which predates the Impalas.

The 2019 Tahoe replaces a retired Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District ambulance for incident command use, Lynn said. The former ambulance, in service for about a dozen years, sits too long between uses and can be unreliable, he said.

The department’s canine unit will continue to use a 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe donated by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Lynn said. Ongoing fund-raising efforts, such as the Cascade K9 Jamboree held this year during Sportsman’s Holiday, will help pay for a new vehicle when needed.

The sergeants’ vehicle and the canine vehicle are white, as is the incident command vehicle, which was only available in white, but the department is not changing its paint scheme, Lynn said. Regular patrol vehicles will remain silver.

The police chief continues to drive a royal blue 2013 Ford SUV Interceptor.

The department will surplus several older vehicles, Lynn said. They include a 2010 Crown Victoria, two Impalas and a couple of Chargers, which will be auctioned through govdeals.com.