Most Iowans hope they don’t see one in their rear-view mirrors, but the Iowa Highway Patrol is experimenting with new cruisers. Captain Shane Antle says a dozen Dodge Chargers are now outfitted as troopers’ cars to supplement the statewide “Interceptor” fleet of 360 Ford Crown Victorias.
Captain Antle says “At this point in time, we haven’t been able to form any opinions on the Charger, just from the fact it’s so new. The last one was issued about three weeks ago. We’re going to allow the officers some time to drive those vehicles, not only in the good conditions but also in the adverse conditions which are coming upon us with the wintertime driving.”
Antle says the Chargers are wearing new reflective striping to make the troopers more visible at night. It’s a high-performance car, he says, and that comes with a price — less interior space for all of the crime-fighting and emergency gear troopers have to carry. He says “The Charger has a little less room than what the Crown Victoria has. By and large, it’s a full-size-framed vehicle, which is what we look for. This one we’re running does have the Hemi engine in it because we wanted to see the performance of that comparable to the engine that Ford’s running.”
Antle says most Highway Patrol cars have been light brown in recent years — but not the Chargers. “We went with the charcoal grey, a silver and a white, so there’s three different colors. Part of the idea behind that is, as you look at the fleet, we want to do what we can to enhance the resale of our vehicles once we take them out of service. We believe that by changing colors, that will enhance the resale value.”
Antle admits, there’s another more tactical advantage — some law-breakers may not recognize the patrol cars as such until they’re up close.