Are Tahoe's the Right Choice for Chatham Police Vehicles? - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Are Tahoe's the Right Choice for Chatham Police Vehicles?

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Officers with the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department will soon have new wheels.

News 3 has learned the department is replacing 103 marked vehicles with new Chevrolet Tahoe SUV's.  

The question many folks have is why the change?

Our first reaction, and many other folks we talked to as well was.. a Tahoe? really?

Isn't that expensive? Isn't that too fancy? A gas guzzler?

But what we all have to remember is this is the "law enforcement" version of the SUV.

Chatham County Sheriff Al St. Lawrence even drafted this letter to the county and city managers about its advantages.

Doing the research, News 3 found dozens of local departments switching to the SUV version of the police cruiser.

One of the big reasons is cost.

A Tahoe will cost about $26,000 dollars while a Ford Taurus Police Interceptor would be more than $28,000 and the Chevrolet Caprice, costs about $30,000, and wont even be available until 2014.

National tests also show the Tahoe will last longer on the road, have less maintenance and repair costs, and even be safer on the roads.

"Escambia County, Florida for instance," explained Sheriff St Lawrence. "Their 450 road deputies they are all driving Tahoe's. All walked away from accidents they've had. You sit up higher. You are on a truck frame where unless it's a real violent crash your driver will walk away, which means less time lost from work, etc etc."

And what about the gas mileage?

Studies show that the Tahoe is comparable if not better than the Police Interceptor.

Both averaged 21 miles per gallon on the highway.

But the Tahoe averaged 15 miles per gallon in the city, the interceptor only 14.

When it's time to get rid of that old police car or truck, the resale value on a Tahoe is more than double other car brands.

Sheriff St. Lawrence is so sold that next week he will introduce a budget that includes 15 new Tahoe's to replace part of his aging fleet.
He says 43 of his 124 cars have more than 100,000 miles on them right now.

15 new vehicles would take a big step towards a better department - and safer streets.

Here is the Michigan State Police Evaluation of Police Vehicles:,4643,7-123-__1564__1564-16274--,00.html


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