CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- New city police cars will have a more muscular look.
They will be Dodge Chargers, and the city will buy at least six of them as police pursuit cars this year.
"They will still be black and white, but with the body style they will look a little different," city purchasing agent Melinda Carroll said.
Some of the markings may change, too, with an American flag added. A photo showing the design changes may be available this week, officials said.
The City Council last week accepted a bid from Tennessee Fleet Sales of Maryville of $23,790 each for the 2012 Chargers. City staff sent a memo to council members on why they recommended that bid, although it was $650 higher than Mountain View Ford of Chattanooga at $23,140 each for 2013 model Ford Taurus Police Interceptors.
The memo explained that the Chargers come with a longer power-train warranty, a quicker delivery date, comparable fuel consumption and rear-wheel drive, which the staff prefers to the all-wheel drive on the Fords.
"These are not the gas guzzlers," Councilman George Poe said, pointing out that the cars have V6 engines and do not require premium fuel.
Carroll said Friday the city still is studying bid alternatives to figure out if six or seven vehicles can be bought.
Tennessee Fleet Sales also offered a 2013 Ford at $25,599 each and a 2013 Chevrolet Caprice pursuit car at $28,932 each. Three other companies, Don Ledford Pontiac, Larry Hill Ford and Sam Swope Auto Group, were invited but did not submit bids.
The department has about 85 vehicles, and in today's tightly budgeted world, the city keeps vehicles on the road longer and uses disabled ones for parts, Carroll said.
It is the first time the city has purchased Dodge Chargers, and it still has Ford Crown Victorias on the road, although Ford stopped its traditional Crown Victoria police pursuit car production in 2011.
The Bradley County Sheriff's Office has several Chargers in its fleet.
Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...