Local CHP officers get new vehicles
Public Information Officer Brodie Mitchell stands between two of the latest additions to the county’s California Highway Patrol fleet. The vehicles are Ford Explorer Interceptor patrol SUVs, which are replacing the discontinued Crown Victorias. Mitchell said the all-wheel-drive vehicles grip the road like glue. Photos by Laura Beaton
A new type of California Highway Patrol vehicle began arriving at the local Quincy office Feb. 12.
Public Information Officer Brodie Mitchell said the four Ford Explorer Interceptor utility SUVs arrived just in time for Quincy CHP officers to take a mandatory four-hour training course to learn to properly operate the vehicle.
Two CHP training officers from the Northern Division Headquarters in Redding conducted the new patrol vehicle training course, which included classroom instruction and hands-on driving.
The large asphalt parking area in front of the Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds was the test-driving site.
CHP patrol vehicle selection process and background
The Department of General Services was responsible for selecting a vehicle based on price, performance and payload capacity.
Bid specifications required pursuit-rated, rear-wheel or all-wheel drive and 1,500-pound carrying capacity.
Last California Highway Patrol vehicle purchase was January 2011.
Average patrol vehicle is driven 33,000 miles per year.
Half of current 2,135-vehicle fleet has more than 100,000 miles (June 2013).
Warranty expires after 100,000 miles, forcing CHP to pay maintenance costs.
CHP authorized to purchase up to 751 new vehicles, starting by replacing highest-mileage cars.
Nine vehicles put into service (July 2013) replacing cars with excess of 150,000 miles.
“Officers drove a myriad of different scenarios laid out in cones to become familiar with the all-wheel-drive Interceptor’s traction control system,” Mitchell said.
“The training course was valuable, but compared to a trip down the Feather River Canyon and back, it can’t compete! That will be our true test.”
Mitchell said that when inclement weather struck Plumas County in the past, response times could be extended due to the need to install chains on the two-wheel-drive Crown Victorias.
“Now that the standard patrol vehicle has all-wheel drive, our units can be that much faster to respond. Another improvement will be our ability to traverse more of our most treacherous roads immediately without having to return to the office for a four-wheel-drive Expedition.”
Mitchell and Sgt. Austin Matulonis said they invite any visitor with a curious streak to stop by and take a look whenever one of the new patrol vehicles is parked in front of the Quincy office.