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Police hot over vehicles
By Craig Boerner, [email protected]
July 09, 2003

http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/index.cfm?section=9&screen=news&news_id=24497

The term "hot pursuit" has taken on a whole new meaning in the Metro Police Department.

A fleet of 50 brand new Dodge Intrepid police cars is now in storage, waiting for Chrysler representatives to pick them up, after tests conducted by the Fraternal Order of Police revealed that the brakes appear to have a tendency to catch on fire.

Metro's Legal Department intervened after an FOP videotape showed the brakes catching fire in a typical 10-minute pursuit simulation. FOP President Calvin Hullett said open flames were visible coming from the brake pads in the wheel well on all four cars tested.

"Dodge essentially came back saying that the cars hadn't been put through the right break-in procedures and that's the reason the brakes are catching on fire," Hullett said. "No … you go out and sell the car on the street and it needs to be ready to go as is. When we mark a police car and put it on the street, we expect it to be pursuit capable."

Metro Legal Director Karl Dean said his department, upon receiving reports that the brakes were unsatisfactory, wrote the Memphis dealership April 16, rejecting the vehicles.

Two days later Metro Legal sent a letter to Chrysler's general counsel, describing the problem and saying the vehicles are being rejected and would be held in a secure location to be picked up, according to Dean.

"We've had some communication with them back and forth but, as of now, the cars are still here," Dean said. "We are asking them to come and get them and we've supplied them with information they have requested in terms of copies of the videotapes police have made and other reports."

Dean said, additionally, there are reports about similar problems Michigan State Police had with the vehicles and a park ranger on regular patrol at Centennial Park had his brakes catch fire in one of the new vehicles.

DaimlerChrysler representatives could not be reached Tuesday but have been quoted as saying there have not been other problems with the vehicles and that Nashville "used extreme procedures" to test the cars.

"Basically what we asked for in our RFP were cars to be used for police pursuit," Dean said. "We haven't paid for them. Right now it is with the lawyers … we'll just have to wait and see."

Dodge returned to manufacturing a police car package in 2002 after a 12-year absence from the market. The new cars sell for around $15,500 each.

The former Chrysler Corporation dominated the police car market in the 1960s, 70s and early 80s with market shares ranging from 45-60 percent.

Metro Police have used a variety of cars in the past including the 2000 Chevrolet Impala, 2000 Ford Police Interceptor, 1993 Ford Crown Victoria and 1991 Chevrolet Caprice.
 

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Dodge Intrepid Police cars, what a joke. I'll stick to my exploding tank CV for now. What's wrong with these manufacturers?

Maybe we should be driving BMWs or other foreign cars that are better made.
 

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Hunter said:
Hey why not the CHP uses volvos and BMW motorcycles, maybe were missing something in this state.
Sure are.......... "funding"
 

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MSP did order a bunch of 2003 Dodge Intrepids as the new unmarked vehicles of the MSP fleet. My last department used Intrepids as the front line marked cruisers and they sucked.
 
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