EAST ALTON — New squad cars hit the streets of East Alton, as the police department plans to eventually replace their entire fleet.
The East Alton Police Department has bought six new squad cars to replace six older Chevy Impalas dating from ‘06 to ‘09. The new squad cars reportedly totaled more than $230,000, and were paid for by a loan provided to the department by a local bank. Police Chief Darren Carlton reported that the department plans on paying off the cars in four years. He also added that the department has made plans to replace the remaining five squad cars once the first six are paid off.
The new vehicles are Ford Explorers with all-wheel-drive, a model which has gained popularity with other Riverbend police departments, and departments across the country. The vehicles bought by police departments vary a great deal from the version bought by the average consumer. They are often altered to be more durable and better suited to the specific needs of an officer on duty. Carlton explained that this model of vehicle is chosen for police work due to the extra room the vehicle provides for the officers and their equipment.
“The officers are in their squads for 12-hour shifts and they need to have more room and these vehicles give the officers the room needed,” said Carlton.
While the main factor for choosing this model of vehicle was the ability to fit all the officers’ necessary technology in the driver’s side compartment, Carlton said the height of the vehicle is a huge benefit for the officers driving the squad cars.
“I believe these vehicles will help with the physical demands of getting in and out of the vehicles day in and day out. Since the new vehicles sit up higher than the Impalas we are currently using, getting in and out alone is worth the vehicle,” said Carlton.
Four of the new squad cars recently purchased by the East Alton Police Department will have regulation police markings, while the other two will remain unmarked.
Amanda Thomas is a freelance reporter for the Telegraph.
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