Police hot over vehicles
By Craig Boerner, firstname.lastname@example.org
July 09, 2003
The term "hot pursuit" has taken on a whole new meaning in the Metro
A fleet of 50 brand new Dodge Intrepid police cars is now in storage,
waiting for Chrysler representatives to pick them up, after tests
conducted by the Fraternal Order of Police revealed that the brakes
appear to have a tendency to catch on fire.
Metro's Legal Department intervened after an FOP videotape showed the
brakes catching fire in a typical 10-minute pursuit simulation. FOP
President Calvin Hullett said open flames were visible coming from
the brake pads in the wheel well on all four cars tested.
"Dodge essentially came back saying that the cars hadn't been put
through the right break-in procedures and that's the reason the
brakes are catching on fire," Hullett said. "No … you go out and sell
the car on the street and it needs to be ready to go as is. When we
mark a police car and put it on the street, we expect it to be
Metro Legal Director Karl Dean said his department, upon receiving
reports that the brakes were unsatisfactory, wrote the Memphis
dealership April 16, rejecting the vehicles.
Two days later Metro Legal sent a letter to Chrysler's general
counsel, describing the problem and saying the vehicles are being
rejected and would be held in a secure location to be picked up,
according to Dean.
"We've had some communication with them back and forth but, as of
now, the cars are still here," Dean said. "We are asking them to come
and get them and we've supplied them with information they have
requested in terms of copies of the videotapes police have made and
Dean said, additionally, there are reports about similar problems
Michigan State Police had with the vehicles and a park ranger on
regular patrol at Centennial Park had his brakes catch fire in one of
the new vehicles.
DaimlerChrysler representatives could not be reached Tuesday but have
been quoted as saying there have not been other problems with the
vehicles and that Nashville "used extreme procedures" to test the
"Basically what we asked for in our RFP were cars to be used for
police pursuit," Dean said. "We haven't paid for them. Right now it
is with the lawyers … we'll just have to wait and see."
Dodge returned to manufacturing a police car package in 2002 after a
12-year absence from the market. The new cars sell for around $15,500
The former Chrysler Corporation dominated the police car market in
the 1960s, 70s and early 80s with market shares ranging from 45-60
Metro Police have used a variety of cars in the past including the
2000 Chevrolet Impala, 2000 Ford Police Interceptor, 1993 Ford Crown
Victoria and 1991 Chevrolet Caprice.