JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office is requesting funds for 18 new Dodge Charger patrol cars at a cost of nearly half a million dollars from the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office fleet budget.
The new vehicles will replace 18 Crown Vic’s dating back to 1999 through 2004.
The vehicle fleet manager says some of the cars are unsafe and essentially like driving a warn out taxi, which he says is unsafe at high speeds.
That’s because a majority of the 151 vehicles in the fleet are nearly decades old and have between 150 to 200 thousand miles on them.
The vehicle request aims to replace between 15 to 20 patrol cars a year depending on needs and costs.
Sheriff Miller says the goal, “Replace vehicles based on less maintenance and more safety.”
But, why Dodge Chargers?
The sheriff’s office says right now many of the patrol cars are Ford Taurus’s or Crown Vic’s which get an average of 10 to 13 miles per gallon, while Dodge Chargers average between 16 to 18 miles per gallon due to the better engine.
These Chargers are also specifically designed for law enforcement and feature different suspension and brake systems.
Miller says it’s important for the older vehicles to be replaced because the public depends on the officers driving these cars.
He says in one instance he had a call come in where a deputy was not able to make it because the vehicle broke down.
Miller says as long as they maintain the new vehicles properly and continue to replace other vehicles in the fleet with the annual vehicle replacement budget they will be in good hands.
“If we maintain the regular maintenance they’re going to be good for the county for many years,” said Miller.
Within the next five years the entire Onslow County Sheriff’s Office fleet is expected to be replaced by Dodge Chargers model years 2015 or better.
According to the grant, no additional Onslow County taxpayer dollars are needed to accept the grant.