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New look for Rosemount squad cars

As the Rosemount Police Department replaces aging squad cars it will move to a new utility interceptor design created by Ford. Police chief Eric Werner said the new design will be better able to accommodate the equipment officers carry with them.

A new Rosemount Police Department squad car made its debut to the community at the Leprechaun Days Parade last weekend. The squad, which replaced one of the cars in the fleet, is now officially in use by the police department.

The new vehicle is the first in a replacement schedule that the police department has in place to get newer, more up-to-date vehicles. There are noticeable differences between the current squad and the new squads that will be slowly introduced into the lineup.

"The most noticeable difference is its utility interceptor format, and what that has done is essentially provided for the needs of the officers day to day office space," said Rosemount Police chief Eric Werner.

Werner said the new form factor is necessary to accommodate all of the equipment police officers carry in their squad cars

Many of the other differences between the new cars and old are based in technology, as the current patrol cars are decades old.

"As the profession has advanced over the decades, the quantity and complexity of the technology has grown," Werner said. "For instance, you have the basic squad car equipment, (like) flashing lights. Then you have the mobile data computers, your audio video recording to your advanced weapons and safety equipment."

Werner said the vehicle has been designed to meet the needs of the police officers today. The current squad is made up of Crown Victorias, whereas the new squad are completely new and redesigned. Werner said they considered other manufacturers for the new squad, but they went with Ford. Ford's experience with other law enforcement agencies as well as their features that keep officers safe helped the department make its decision.

"This is a new, redesigned type squad car," Werner said. "I think Ford Motor Company did a fantastic job looking at modern technology and how we can meet the needs, from the safety standpoint to the climate."

The new squads have all wheel drive, as well as computer technology that supports it and safety features built within the vehicle.

"Whether its dry pavement or the middle of winter, the vehicle is responding to its environment," Werner said.

In addition to the new technology, the new squads give a different experience to officers while driving, as they are sitting up on a higher platform and are able to see what's going on in their environment more easily.

"The overall engineering really gave us a modern vehicle, with police department needs in mind, using modern technology," Werner said.

The new squad car replaced one of the Crown Victorias in the fleet, and kept the count of marked patrol vehicles at seven. The department will replace two more by the end of the year with the redesigned squad. Following the replacement schedule of all of the department's vehicles, Werner said they will continue to use the Crown Victorias they have until they can be replaced.