Following a transition to the new Public Safety Headquarters – the new home of the San Antonio Police Department – Police Chief William McManus is pushing for a change that will change the look of the department to the public.
The San Antonio City Council’s Public Safety Committee voted this week to forward a recommendation by McManus to purchase Ford Explorers that will replace older sedans and Chevrolet Tahoes currently in use. If the city council approves the purchase, the new Explorers may be phased in over a period of three years for a total of about 660 units.
"There are a lot of different departments in the country that use SUVs,” said McManus.
In San Antonio, patrol units are replaced every 70,000 miles, and then are sent to auction where city leaders say a reasonable return on investment is made.
About 20 police vehicles are turned over every month, according to city officials.
The committee, which voted to allow the full city council to consider purchasing 240 units to be delivered by next spring, asked McManus and Deputy City Manager Erik Walsh to weigh cost and needs of the department.
McManus believes Explorers offer a heightened level of safety.
“[It] certainly provides them a vehicle that has plenty of room, considering all the equipment that they wear and something that they're jumping in and out of all the time," said McManus.
SAPD purchased 134 Tahoes when Ford discontinued the Crown Victoria police fleet that McManus says does the job just fine.
Overall, McManus said the Explorer fits the department better. The council will take up the measure in mid-November.