Mequon – Move aside, Ford Crown Victoria.

Pull over, Chevy Impala.

There’s a new sheriff in town.

The Mequon Police Department has recently completed its transition to an entirely sports utility vehicle patrol fleet.

Nine vehicles were replaced earlier this month in what Captain of Administration Scott Tyler said is an effort to primarily allow more space inside police vehicles.

“We use so much more equipment than we used to, from laptops to other technology and all of our gear,” said Tyler, who is retiring after almost 33 years with the department later this month. “I’ve seen a lot of changes through the years, and in my opinion these vehicles will not only be much better but will likely have a better resale value when we are finished with them.”

The old vehicles were gutted of equipment that was replaced into the new Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicles, which were all up and running the first week of December.

“All-wheel drive is another benefit, particularly in the winter months,” said Administrative Sergeant Patrick Pryor, who has overseen the upgrades. “Add that to having more space for the volume of equipment like printers, radios and cameras, these vehicles are a much better fit for our needs.”

At an estimated cost of $300,000, the new vehicles replaced 12-year-old Chevy Impalas that previously served as the patrol fleet.

Patrol cars are the last to be replaced in the program, Pryor explained, following the purchase of similar vehicles for captains and detectives in the last couple of years.

The discontinuation of the Chevy Impala also contributed to the change, Police Chief Steve Graff added.

“Officers need to have access to so many different pieces of equipment to effectively do their jobs,” he said. “These SUVs will allow for better access to that equipment, while allowing the officers a little more breathing room in the passenger area.”

And since there is no guarantee whether roads will be plowed as officers respond to calls in snow storms, Graff said he is excited his officers will be more equipped to travel safely.

“The all-wheel drive functionality is also a benefit in winter, as many times, the officers are breaking the trail in the snow conditions before the plows clear the roads,” Graff said. “Emergency calls require quick response times and the officers need to get there safely or they won’t be of any help.”

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