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Chrysler automobiles that are popular with some police departments are being recalled by the manufacturer due to a possible safety problem.
A balky column shift has led Chrysler to recall 20,283 2006 to 2009 Dodge Chargers and Magnums built with the police package.
Spokesmen for the three area departments that use the cars — Haverhill, North Andover and Groveland — said they will contact Dodge dealers to have the problem fixed.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the gearshift cable may become disengaged from the steering column mounting bracket and cause an incorrect transmission gearshift position display.
This could allow the vehicle to move inadvertently and cause a crash without warning, the NHTSA said in a recall summary of the problem.
Chrysler officials said they are not aware of any crashes, injuries or fatalities related to the problem.
The recall comes in the wake of nine customer complaints and 55 field reports of problems with the 2007 Dodge Charger and Magnum police cars, the NHTSA said.
In Haverhill, where police put 11 new Dodge Chargers into service earlier this year, there have been no problems, patrol commander Capt. Michael Wrenn said yesterday.
"We've had no issues," Wrenn said. "We are in the process of getting them repaired. We will bring the vehicle numbers to the dealer."
North Andover patrol commander Lt. John Carney said the department uses nine Chargers as frontline cruisers and also has three Magnum station wagons assigned to the canine officers and detectives.
"We've already had a couple of Chargers that had to go in for a new cable in the shift linkage," Carney said.
He said officers had experienced the Chargers getting stuck in reverse.
"We've had no accidents with them. It's just the inconvenience of having them tied up for a day while they are being fixed."
He said there had been no problems with the Magnum vehicles.
"The troops seem to like them," Carney said.
Groveland police have one of the cars and Deputy Chief Jeffrey Gillen said he is one of two officers who drive it.
He said he hasn't noticed any problem other than it is a bit awkward to shift.
"The handling is really good,'' Gillen said. "It is comfortable to drive."
One officer said the Dodges come out of the factory with the shift lever in the center console, but that in order to fit police equipment into the front seat, the cars had to be reconfigured after market with a column shift lever.
The Chargers and Magnums are appearing in more fleets replacing Ford's Crown Victoria, which has been a mainstay of police work for years.
EAGLE TRIBUNE
 

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Everything the Chrysler seems to do SUCKS... and it's always the same thing, Transmissions, and gear shifting.. Do something right for once, jeez Chrysler
 
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