Shortage of new police cars has some Virginia departments concerned: 'Ford canceled all of our orders'

Posted at 1:02 AM, Sep 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-12 10:50:14-04

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Law enforcement agencies across Central Virginia, including Virginia State Police, are facing challenges acquiring new police vehicles this year.

Maj. Robert Ruxler with Colonial Heights Police said he believes the issue is nationwide as police departments and sheriff's offices routinely buy new vehicles because of the miles they quickly rack up.

"We would run for 100,000 miles before we actually pull them out of service," Petersburg Chief Travis Christian explained. "We're quickly approaching those numbers right now."

But now there is a problem trying to replace aging police cars in the Tri-Cities that date back from 2011, 2015 and 2017.

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"The accessibility of vehicles is usually pretty easy," Capt. Damon Stoker with Hopewell Police said. "But now I think, universally, they're harder to come by."

Colonial Heights got the bad news about their July 2021 order from Ford on Monday.

"We were notified that Ford canceled all of our orders for 2022 Police Interceptors," Ruxler said.

Ruxer said the department was given the option to purchase 2023 vehicles, but with a caveat.

"The cost was increased by approximately $7,500 per vehicle," Ruxer said. "Fortunately, our city is very supportive and understood our needs for police vehicles and was able to work with us to make this purchase."

Petersburg Police Chief Travis Christian
Petersburg Police Chief Travis Christian

Christian said Petersburg has been seeking 15 new cars for over six months.

"We've been trying since actually late December of last year to find vehicles, we can't find vehicles," Christian said.

Because the cruisers are hard to find and buy, Petersburg decided to lease. But that that still came with another issue.

"So even though we can purchase more vehicles by way of leasing, there's still a delay in getting those vehicles because the manufacturers, can't produce the vehicles fast enough for us to purchase," Christian said.

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Stoker said Hopewell is still expecting several 2022 models, but like many agencies they are also looking to save money while still equipping their fleet.

"Hopefully we can make a deal with our sheriff's office," Stoker said. "They got a vehicle that's used, got some mileage on it... It's outfitted for a police K-9 and hopefully we can get that from them."

State police also got the cancellation notice for more than 100 2022 models. As a result, the agency will now be getting 2023 models at the increased price.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email to send a tip.



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