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January 09. 2013 10:29PM

Londonderry police to get new wheels

LONDONDERRY - Members of the Londonderry Police Department will soon be cruising in style.

On Wednesday afternoon, police officials announced the pending arrival of a new fleet of cruisers. The department will be one of the first in the area to use the new Ford Explorer Interceptor, Police Chief William Hart said.

Hart said the new vehicles would display the department's traditional black-and-white color scheme already familiar to residents.

A three-year lease agreement for the vehicles is incorporated into the current year's budget. Hart said the lease program "is very cost-effective and assures safe and functional vehicles for the officers operating them and the general public."

Police officials noted the updated vehicles would provide safer operation, particularly in times of bad weather.

Hart said that providing a more ergonomic vehicle for the officers will hopefully help us avoid slips and falls entering and exiting the vehicles, and offer additional leg room and added back support.

"These vehicles will also be more visible for the public," the chief said. "All in all, we believe this new vehicle will prove safer and more reliable, for a very reasonable price."

The vehicles will be paid for through an existing cruiser maintenance trust fund.

Last year, police officials learned that the Ford Crown Victorias the department had previously used were being discontinued and began seeking an appropriate alternative. Police appeared before the budget committee in September, where they revealed early plans for a fleet replacement. Leases on the new vehicle fleet are expected to cost approximately $110,000. As of this past fall, the trust fund contained around $160,000.

Londonderry police generally sign a new cruiser lease every three years, working closely with the local Ford dealership. The latest police vehicles will be outfitted with the latest technology, though police officials said that some of the radios and laptops used in the current cruisers would still work with the new vehicles.

aguilmet@newstote.com

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