The Red Bank Police Department is adding three new police cars to its fleet, two of which are the only Volkswagen Passats to be used by a police force in the nation, according to Police Chief Tim Christol.
"We wanted to try to do business in Chattanooga and had a very attractive price on these vehicles," said Mayor Monty Millard of the Chattanooga-made Passats, which along with the city's new Ford Explorer will serve as unmarked vehicles in the department's fleet.
The stock Passats including an emergency equipment upgrade with lights and sirens cost the city $20,700 each, which Christol said is less than the cost of the average fleet car. He said officials also looked at models from Ford, Chrysler and Dodge, but bids from other manufacturers all came in higher than that of Volkswagen here in Chattanooga.
"We were impressed by the volume of cargo space," said Christol. "Officers use these as their mobile office, and having plenty of room for them to be able to work comfortably is important."
He said the vehicle's gas mileage was a factor in its selection as well.
"It also had the performance we need to go on emergency calls and the durability to withstand the rigors of police work," said Christol.
Millard said the Police Department had requested five new vehicles, and the city budgeted for three. He said the city had enough money in its drug fund to pay cash for the Explorer, and money for the two Passats came from the city's general funds.
Christol said he expects the Passats to arrive in the next few weeks.
"I hope they meet our expectations, and I believe they will," he said.
The Police Department will be assessing how the Passats perform as police vehicles and may add more to the fleet in the future based on the results of the evaluation.