What’s black and silver and white and blue all over? The new police squad cars in Detroit Lakes, of course.
The new design incorporates color elements that include royal blue, a color that symbolizes officers who died in the line of duty, said Detroit Lakes Police Chief Steven Todd.
The design also includes the city and school district’s sailboat logo, next to a star honoring Detroit Lakes’ status as a Minnesota Star City.
After officers were asked about design preferences, Sgt. Chad Glander “grabbed the bull by the horns” and worked with Brushmark Graphics in Detroit Lakes to develop three designs, Todd said. After some minor adjustments, department staffers were asked which design they preferred, and the winning design won by a landslide.
“I green-lighted it. I liked it,” Todd said.
But the new Ford Police Interceptor utility squad is more than just a pretty face: It’s actually a much-needed additional vehicle for the department. It will take some of the strain off the other squad cars, some of which are used around the clock as officers rotate through in three shifts, Todd said.
“It’s important to add a vehicle to the fleet so we’re not racking up so many miles on the cars,” he said. The department has six patrol cars, a school resource squad car, and three unmarked cars used by investigators and the chief.
“Half our fleet will have the new graphics on them this year,” Todd said.
So far just the one squad car has the new design, and it hasn’t hit the streets yet. “We’re waiting for a couple more pieces of equipment,” Todd said.
Ford revamped and redesigned its new police vehicles, and even though Detroit Lakes bought the least expensive version, it still cost about $33,000 -- up from $28,000 or $29,000 from last year, Todd said. It will be equipped with about $10,000 worth of equipment, including emergency lights, radio and backseat security cage to hold arrestees.
The rear cargo area of the SUV is not accessible from the backseat, and holds enough additional equipment that “it wouldn’t fit in the trunk,” of a regular passenger car, Todd said.
“The city council has been very supportive,” Todd said. “They understand the cost of vehicles is out of my control.”
Detroit Lakes ordered the new squad car a year ago, and it wasn’t delivered until this year, he said. Because of that late delivery, and because two additional squad cars were already in the budget for this year, the city will end up with three new squad cars this year.
That made it a good time to change designs, Todd said.
And the department did opt to buy one Dodge Durango police vehicle to see how well it stacks up to the more-expensive Fords. The Durango and second Ford will be delivered in the next three to four months, he said.
The Ford that has already arrived is the department’s second police vehicle with a light bar on the top. The others have built-in emergency lights on the top of the windows.
A lot of officers prefer the light bars, believing they provide better visibility for traffic stops and emergency situations, Todd said. “We kind of got away from light bars, but the officers who drive them (squads with light bars) all like them,” he said.
It’s not clear which officers will get to use the Ford that is already in the police garage.
Glander helps with fleet management and fleet ordering, and “I don’t know who Sgt. Glander is assigning it to,” Todd said. “Chad put a lot of time and effort into this, and I’m very happy with how it turned out,” he added.