The University of Wisconsin Police Department will patrol campus with a new fleet of vehicles this year, as it plans to replace the older models of police cars.
UWPD added seven new 2013 Ford Police Interceptor SUVs to its fleet to substitute the Ford Crown Victoria model, a UW statement said Tuesday.
Ford’s discontinuation of the Crown Victoria’s production prompted this upgrade, UWPD Sgt. Aaron Chapin said.
In addition to the discontinuation, Chapin said that it was time for the police vehicles to be replaced since they typically last in the fleet about six or seven years.
According to a UW statement, Ford made the announcement in 2010 to discontinue the Crown Victoria Sedan the following year. Police departments across the country used the “Crown Vics” because of their reliability, the statement said.
According to Chapin, reliability is a necessary characteristic in a police car. The decision to go with the new vehicle was because of the increased gas mileage, he said.
The new model, which will be several inches shorter, will also provide increased gas mileage by over 150 percent, the statement said. The vehicle is also all-wheel drive, to address the region’s climate and what Ford refers to as “Extreme Officer Protection,” the statement said.
In addition to the new fleet, Chief Susan Riseling found the change to be an opportunity to refresh the UWPD vehicle design.
According to Det. Marshall Ogren, the design had been in use for over 10 years, and was “outdated.”
Members of the department were given the opportunity to submit ideas for redesign, the statement said. The final vote among the members was between two ideas, of which Ogren’s design was chosen as the winner.
Ogren said he wanted a design that brought visibility and brand recognition. When starting the design process, he added he looked at what other colleges and universities were doing as well as other municipalities.
“We got the base design from University of Washington but wanted some things that were distinct and unique to Madison,” Ogren said.
This uniqueness came from the addition of the image of the UW-Madison campus on the back of the car, the department’s badge and reflective chevrons for added visibility, Ogren said.
According to Chapin, the new design is updated to incorporate features that make it more recognizable as a police vehicle.
The redesign also provided a platform to differentiate the UWPD vehicles from other police cars as emergency vehicles. Chapin emphasized the importance of this distinction, as UWPD is an emergency service.
According to the statement, the new vehicles are owned by the UW Fleet and leased by UWPD.
Ogren said he is excited about this new design, finding it to be a nice addition for the police department and something positive and unique for the students.