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Nashua aldermen sign off on new SUVs for police

Union Leader Correspondent

February 12. 2014 11:44PM

NASHUA — An aldermanic panel this week supported the purchase of nine sport utility vehicles for the city’s police force as it attempts to convert its fleet away from traditional cruisers.

While Police Chief John Seusing said he was content with the current Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors the department now utilizes, the popular cruisers are no longer in production.

Forced to find an alternative vehicle, members of the police department tested four different vehicles as a possible replacement, eventually recommending the 2014 Ford Police Interceptor Utility All-Wheel Drive vehicles.

“Many other agencies are starting to go with these utility vehicles,” Seusing said recently, noting the Londonderry Police Department has changed its fleet to SUVs, and Massachusetts State Police are in the process of converting their fleet as well.A detailed presentation on the suggested SUVs was shared with city aldermen recently. On Tuesday, the aldermanic Finance Committee voted in support of purchasing nine SUVs at a cost of $283,340, which includes equipment installation. Before the equipment installation, the cost of each vehicle is about $25,000 but closer to $31,500 after the installation.

There was little discussion by the committee prior to its vote.

Mayor Donnalee Lozeau said the existing blue lights displayed on the Crown Victorias will be used for the new SUVs. The Crown Victorias being replaced are all 2011 models with about 100,000 miles, although two of the cars have been totaled.

The new vehicles will be purchased through the State of Massachusetts Greater Boston Police Council.The utility vehicle was chosen as the department’s top pick because of its handling, performance, visibility, accessibility, safety features and reliability, Seusing said earlier. With 4,500 arrests made each year in the city, he said, it is essential to have a police vehicle that is cooperative, low to the ground, stable and pursuit-rated.Other benefits include all-wheel drive, rear cameras and rear sensors, he added.

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