Thursday's meeting of the Murfreesboro City Council included a proposal by Police Chief Glenn Chrisman to purchase 25 new vehicles for the Murfreesboro Police Department.
Chrisman said his department had researched all options and determined the best choice is a more fuel-efficient police vehicle manufactured by Ford, which is based on the Taurus body style and is completely redesigned for law enforcement use.
The Ford Police Interceptor has a smaller V6 engine, replacing the department's Crown Victoria models that utilize a 4.6 liter V8 engine, and is an all-wheel-drive vehicle as opposed to the two-wheel drive Crown Victoria.
"Our officers have driven 2.3 million miles during just the last 15-month period, and the department is spending $750,000 for fuel alone," Chrisman said. "The fuel economy for the Crown Victoria is rated at 14 miles per gallon, and the actual fuel economy has turned out to be 10 miles per gallon."
"The new Police Interceptor is rated at 18 miles per gallon, and if we see the same four-mile-per-gallon difference in actual fuel economy, then we will still see a jump in fuel efficiency by four miles per gallon," he added.
Councilwoman Madelyn Scales-Harris questioned Chrisman concerning the choice of the Ford Police Interceptor over the Chevrolet Caprice, which she said had been suggested to her by multiple officers who had called her.
"Officers I have spoken with say the Police Interceptor has a larger blind spot and tighter spaces, and our officers are pretty buff and they are even more buff after they put on all their equipment, like Titans buff," she said.
Councilman Doug Young responded by reminding Scales-Harris that Chrisman's proposal represents more than a year of planning by department staff.
"I have talked to multiple officers and administrative staff who assure me that the due diligence has been done with this proposal," he said.
Chrisman acknowledged that there are "some unknowns" when purchasing department vehicles and added the initial purchase of only 25 vehicles will give the department a chance to evaluate the Police Interceptor thoroughly before more are purchased.
The department currently utilizes 109 Crown Victoria vehicles.
Councilman Eddie Smotherman, who said he has 18 years of automotive experience, noted the smaller space for officers within the Interceptor, but added he is all for more fuel efficiency.
"I think this is a great vehicle that you have chosen," he said.
Smotherman then motioned for approval and Scales-Harris seconded his motion, which passed unanimously.