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SLO PD gets new wheels

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In an effort to accommodate additional officers and replace several aging cruisers, the San Luis Obispo Police Department recently purchased seven new Dodge Charger patrol cars, according to Capt. Ian Parkinson.

Parkinson said the total price tag of the aggressive-looking vehicles, which can reach a top speed of 140 mph and go from 0 to 40 mph in three seconds, is estimated at $160,000 and was paid for with funds from the department’s general fleet account.

After being a traditionally Ford-friendly department, the move to the Dodge may come as a surprise to some. But Parkinson said the decision to switch make and model came down to performance and comfort, and the Dodge Chargers out-performed the Fords in those areas. He added that the Chargers—which are equipped with Hemi V8 engines—would save the department money on gas, since the vehicles switch from using eight cylinders to four when the extra power isn’t needed.

“Fords just don’t do that,” said the 20-year SLOPD veteran.

In addition to the Batmobile-like designs, citizens will notice the new black-and-white color scheme, which the SLOPD has returned to after a 50-year hiatus. Parkinson said the move back to black-and-whites is intended to enhance the visibility of police and ultimately give the community a greater sense of security.

“If you drive one (a new black and white Dodge Charger patrol car) down the street, it turns heads more so than a regular police car,” Parkinson said. “And that’s the purpose. We want to get noticed because the visibility factor reduces crime.”

The new color scheme, however, does not seem to intimidate everyone.

“It doesn’t matter what color it is, it’s still a cop car, ” said longtime San Luis Obispo resident Josh Biddick. “And the new colors haven’t affected my view of the SLOPD; they are just as visible as they were before—because they’re everywhere.”

There was no word on whether the SLOPD plans on adding a decal to the Chargers that depicts the cartoon character Calvin urinating on a Ford logo.

 

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