Boaz Police Department officers will soon be patrolling the city’s streets in new rides.
The purchase of four police package Dodge Chargers was approved by the Boaz City Council in March. After completing the bid process and finalizing the design, Boaz Police Chief Josh Gaskin hopes to see all four vehicles on the road by the end of the month.
One vehicle is already finished and in service. It’s the first time the Boaz Police Department has ever used Dodge Chargers.
“The biggest reason we went for the Chargers was we needed more vehicles and the cost difference,” Gaskin said.
Police package Dodge Chargers cost $36,051.96 apiece, according to Gaskin. A Chevrolet Tahoe, which is what officers drove before, costs $48,743.07. Per vehicle that’s $12,691.11 saved.
“Multiply that number by four and that equals $50,764.44 that we saved versus going with four new tahoes,” Gaskin said. “We’ve never had Chargers here, so it was something I wanted to try — something different. If they work out well, then I think it might be more affordable to keep the fleet up. Really, once these cars reach up to around 100,000 miles, you can just about double the mileage on the actual motor because these cars are ran so much harder than the ones you and I drive every day … It’s such a huge savings, it didn’t make sense not to try it.”
Something the Chargers brought to the table that Tahoes didn’t was better gas mileage. Gaskin said he had weighed the option of having V8 engines installed, but he decided against it. With a V6 engine, the Charger still has 300 horsepower and gets around 20 miles per gallon. However, there is one minor downfall to the V6 engine.
“The 0-to-60 mph difference in the V8 versus V6 is three seconds,” Gaskin said. “That sounds like a lot to some people who are racing, but we’re not out here racing.”
With new rides comes a new style for the department. Gaskin said they let the patrol officers vote on a new color scheme, including one that matched the Boaz High School colors, but everyone voted for the plain, yet sleek black and white scheme.
“Since we were changing from the Tahoe to the Charger, which is a completely different vehicle — the assistant chief and I have black Tahoes, and I really like the look of the black, so I thought we’ll just change the color up and see how it goes. The biggest thing about black is that it shows scratches. These cars are not made to sit in a museum or something, they’re made to get out and work.”
For anybody looking to get their hands on the new police cruisers — well, they won’t get too far. Thanks to new technology, the Chargers can’t be stolen. They are equipped with a secure lock system that requires a remote device only carried by the officers to start the engine.
Another big change to the vehicles is the placement of the light bars. With the lights on top, there is more visibility and Gaskin said it’s made traffic situations a little safer. It gives motorists more time to react when patrol officers have made traffic stops, he said.
Gaskin said he was thankful for the support of the city’s leaders in upgrading the fleet.
“The mayor and council has done an outstanding job — I can’t say enough about what they’ve done with our vehicle fleet,” Gaskin said. “On the patrol side, we don’t have a vehicle on patrol now with more than 60,000 miles. So, they’ve really helped us with that.”
As for the officers, Gaskin said they seem to enjoy the new look.
“Patrol officers really like them,” Gaskin said. “It’s something new — just a different look. A little intimidating, like a patrol car is supposed to look.”