Dodge Charger police interceptor

Local police chiefs are rethinking their love of the Dodge Charger after seeing the maintenance costs. 

The majority of top law enforcement officers in Polk County are not thrilled with the Dodge Charger as a patrol car, but they also said there isn’t much of an alternative.

Dodge’s police interceptor, first introduced in 2006, is a beefed-up version of the Charger Dodge first brought to the market in 2005. Since the first model, police agencies around the country have adopted the interceptor vehicle, including local law enforcement. Since then, police officers have had more trouble with the cars than they imagined.

“We’ve had issues with a couple of them,” said Polk County Police Chief Kenny Dodd. “They’ve had trouble with the front end. The brakes have been terrible.”

Rockmart Police Chief Keith Sorrells said his department at one time counted two Chargers in its vehicle inventory when he took over leadership. One was auctioned and the other remains on the road, he said.

“To be honest, as soon as I can get rid of the other, it will be gone,” Sorrell said.

Sorrells echoed the same complaints as Dodd, said one of the cars was in the shop when he arrived as his first day as chief. That car only had 15,000 miles on it, he said.

In constrast, The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has experienced good outcomes with their Chargers, according to Sheriff Johnny Moats.

Moats said part of the reason for his cars lasting longer is because they aren’t used as patrol cars, which are on the road 24 hours seven days a week. The deputies’ Chargers are primarily used to serve warrants and are on the road about 12 hours a day, Moats said.

Sorrells said he knows people are looking at the Chargers as patrol cars because it looks good and is fast, but he isn’t concerned about being fast in Polk County.

“We don’t need a car to do 150 m.p.h. in Rockmart,” he said.

Dodd agreed.

“I personally want something that is reliable and good on gas,” he said.

All three of the law enforcement officials said they have looked at the new Ford product meant for police use. The consensus is that it isn’t the best option.

“I looked at the new Ford and I know they cost a bit more than the Charger and they’re small,” Moats said. “I had a hard time sitting in them.”

Dodd said the Ford interceptors are about $1,000 more than Chargers, and were so small that one of his bigger officers could barely get out of the front seat.

All three have one car in mind that suited police well.

“In a perfect world, I’d like to have the (Ford) Crown Vic back,” Sorrells said, adding that he has used a Crown Victoria for 36 of his 38 years in law enforcement.

Dodd said the reasoning is simple: The Ford Crown Vic was reliable.

“The Crown Vic was a proven vehicle. When they did away with it, it was disappointing,” Dodd said.

Moats said, “If the Crown Vic were still available, we would go with them.”

As it is, Moats said his department’s next purchase will be Chevrolet Tahoes with all-wheel drive. The sheriff said those could be used in situations where there is snow and ice.

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