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Old 01-19-2005, 06:52   #1 (permalink)
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US:Ford requires waiver to deliver police cars in Arkansas

Ford requires waiver to deliver police cars in Arkansas

Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Ford Motor Co., target of an Arkansas attorney general's investigation of cars the company sells to police agencies, is putting such vehicles in customers' hands - but only if they'll sign waivers.

The Union County sheriff's office agreed to sign the waiver so it could take possession of cars it had ordered.

Previously, Ford had announced after the investigation began that it would not deliver 2005 model cars ordered by Arkansas police and sheriff's offices, or by state agencies, while the investigation was pending.

Ford lawyer Doug Lampe said the same waiver was being offered to all police agencies in Arkansas that wanted to take delivery of cars they had ordered -despite the investigation.

"It is important that all Arkansas agencies have the same waiver terms, and, therefore, we aren't negotiating with individual departments over the terms," Lampe said from Dearborn.

"It won't affect our investigation," Attorney General Mike Beebe said of the waiver requirement. "It's unfortunate Ford has put police officers and police agencies in this position."

The AG's office is inquiring into complaints that some Crown Victorias sold as Police Interceptor models were essentially the civilian version. Officials have said that an examination of 2000 models showed that some of the police package features were present and others weren't.

Ford says all the advertised features are present in its Police Interceptor model, including a heavy-duty frame, heavier springs, shocks and front stabilizer bar, as well as an additional rear stabilizer. The Interceptor is also advertised as equipped with an engine oil cooler and a higher idle speed, which promotes greater coolant circulation speed for extended idling periods frequent in patrol vehicles.

Col. Steve Dozier, commander of the Arkansas State Police, said that agency has declined to sign the waiver presented by Ford, so troopers are still waiting to get new cars.

"We're real cautious," Dozier said. "I'm not going to waive something that has to do with safety. We put troopers in these cars at high speeds."

He said he doubts his officers will get new cars from Ford anytime soon, though 40 are on hold at a rail yard in Memphis and 46 more are on order.

The waiver signed Jan. 6 by the Union County sheriff's office says that agency "forever waives all claims ... arising out of or in any way connected with the advertising or sale" of the vehicles.
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