482 words – MR
The Chevy Caprice in action
by David N. Smoke
The Six Nations Police Service has always struggled with finding the most appropriate patrol vehicle for its policing needs. With approximately 100 square miles of territory, including paved and tar & chip roads, open fields and tens of miles of bush lot and trails, “patrol” can include any, or all, of these areas.
Four wheel drive SUV’s and pickup trucks are used to navigate most off road areas. ATV’s have also proved useful but not as much as one might think. Marked patrol cruisers handle most road patrols, which can include anything from driving to and from calls for service, escorts, parades, traffic enforcement and suspect apprehension pursuits.
Cruisers have included late ’80s and the more streamlined ’90s Chevrolet Caprice Classics, a Chevrolet Impala, Dodge Charger and several Ford Crown Vics. Our 2012 Police Package Caprice is black and outfitted with “ghost striping,” making it stand out from the rest of the fleet.
The unique thing about the new Caprice is that Six Nations is the only known Canadian police service to have one and use it daily for patrols. The service is proud of its history of being “the first” in many aspects of First Nations policing and policing in general.
The Caprice has many pros and very few cons. From the administrative perspective, it was an easy choice after Ford stopped producing the Crown Victoria. The Caprice was comparable in price and though it appears small on the outside, is comparable to the other cruiser choices in interior driver compartment space. Its interior accommodates Six Nations officers ranging from 5’5″ to 6’7″ tall.
Working with the local Chevrolet dealer, getting the Caprice from Australia to the United States and then to Canada was accomplished in a timely fashion, as promised. It arrived in the summer of 2012 and was outfitted with the striping, low profile light bar, LED strobes around the entire vehicle, front push bar, dash mounted front and rear radar antennas, 18″ wheels and a 355 hp V8.
The concern that the Caprice was going to be too small for most officers was quickly alleviated once it was driven. It has quickly become the new favourite car to drive. Officer feedback has been nothing but favourable. Comments include “it looks cool,” “easy to get in and out of,” “comfortable to sit in,” “lots of legroom and headroom,” “handles great on the straightaway and when cornering” and, of course, “it’s fast.”
From a maintenance perspective, the Caprice is comparable to any other vehicle in the police fleet. The one drawback is that parts have to be ordered and shipped from the US through the local Chevrolet dealer. Consequently, officers are reminded that the vehicle is not for off road use.
The only other drawback so far is that the service can’t get any more Caprices – for now, at least.
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