Lee County Sheriff: SUVs to replace aging former deputy cars

By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson says the eight new Chevrolet Tahoes that have replaced aging patrol cars are better equipped for taking on the rigors of everyday use on the county roads.
And, he says, they’ll save money on gas as well.
The new black sports utility vehicles, which are now in service, have a much different look than the traditional black and white Ford Crown Victorias they replaced. Like the Fords, the Tahoes are equipped with the police package, which means performance engines and transmission as well as safety features.
Ford no longer will make the Crown Victoria with the police package. Faced with having to replace eight broken-down patrol cars, Johnson said the Tahoe was the best choice.
“It is rated the most reliable police vehicle and it’s also the safest, which is important when you consider the amount of time a deputy spends patrolling,” he said. “And compared to any other one on the market, the resale value is much higher for the Tahoe.”
At about $24,000 each, the new vehicles cost nearly the same as the Crown Victoria. The sheriff’s department is allowed to replace a vehicle that it pays off every year. Even though eight have been paid off in the past two years, Johnson said, no new vehicles have been bought until now.
Several features make the Tahoe better for law enforcement, according to the sheriff. Lee County deputies covered more than 1 million combined road miles last year, and the 19-gallon tank on the old Ford got only about 12 miles per gallon. The larger 26-gallon tank on the Tahoe allows for fewer fill-ups and it gets 15 miles per gallon.
Robbie Gwin, lieutenant of patrol, has been impressed with the Tahoe so far.
“I have driven law enforcement vehicles for the past 30 years over my law enforcement career,” said Gwin. “This is by far the best vehicle I’ve driven. It is comfortable and reliable beyond expectations.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@journalinc.com.