By Yadira Betances
---- — LAWRENCE — The Lawrence Police Department has purchased a 2013 Ford SUV Police Interceptor, as the city seeks to replace its fleet of aging Crown Victoria sedans.
“This is like night and day,” said Police Chief John Romero when comparing the sedans to the new cars. The Ford Motor Company stopped making the Crown Vics in 2011, and replaced them with the Interceptor sedan and SUV.
The black and white vehicle cost $27,000 standard with an additional $15,000 for lights, sirens, radio, stripes and lettering, said fleet manager Officer Mike LaLiberte.
He said the car is roomier in the front and back seats and has a gun rack and a bigger trunk. In addition to the Lawrence Police logo on its sides, there is lettering on the roof so it could be recognized from a helicopter.
“The car is perfect; much better overall,” LaLiberte said.
The fleet of the Lawrence Police Department includes 18 marked vehicles, six motorcycles and undercover vehicles.
“We’ve been driving Crown Vics for the past 20 years, which was a great driveable vehicle,” he said. The cars were only selling to police officers and taxi drivers, which is the reason they were discontinued.
“We had to look for alternatives and this vehicle fit the bill,” Romero said.
LaLiberte and Romero consider the car’s four-wheel drive it’s best feature.
“We live in New England and with the snow we have to use only those cars that are 4-wheels,” Romero said.
“Once we get these cars, we will never have to be concerned about grounding our cars in the winter,” he said.
The Interceptor has a six-cylinder engine instead of an eight-cylinder making it more fuel efficient, Romero said.
“That is more than enough power for the city,” he said.
Romero said ideally police departments should change 1/4 of its fleet every year. Mayor William Lantigua said he will speak with the City Council to get money and buy five or six more new cars.
The mayor said he also wants to build a new police station, or at least repair the broken stairs and platform leading to the building.
“We will do anything to better equip our police officers,” Lantigua said. “Sometimes there is an issue of resources, but we will do the best we can for them.”