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Erik Burgess, Published May 10 2013

New look, new cars for Fargo police

FARGO – Changes are coming to the Fargo Police Department fleet of vehicles, and you don’t have to be in the backseat of a squad car to see the differences.

Police are beginning to slap a new logo onto its interceptors.

The change officially began in January, but more cars are being brandished with the new design as aging vehicles are replaced with new ones.

The new logo came about because it was time for a change, said Deputy Chief Pat Claus.

“We had that other squad design on there for a good, I betcha, 10 years-plus,” Claus said.

The new design says “FARGO POLICE” in a black, serif font with white edges. Below it, in a smaller, script-like font, it states, “Sworn to Protect. Dedicated to Serve.”

The old logo used a light blue sans-serif font, and featured a lightning-bolt-like blue and gray design.

Police usually update the vehicle logo design every eight to 10 years, said Deputy Chief Todd Osmundson, who manages the police fleet.

To complete the job, an in-house committee was formed among officers, and many ideas were sketched before the police chief gave the green light, Osmundson said.

“There were multiple versions, colors, designs, in that committee; over multiple months,” he said.

Fargo police are also beginning to roll out a new type of vehicle – an SUV-like Ford Police Interceptor Utility. One is now being used, and by this fall, Osmundson said the fleet will have seven Utilities.

Today, there are 41 vehicles in the police fleet.

The pros of the Utility are many, Osmundson said. It has ample rear cargo space, which helps store each car’s mobile data computer, as well as defibrillators, battery packs, Wi-Fi and video uploading technology, which would otherwise be thrown in the trunk of the typical police sedan.

“It’s not a lot larger than a sedan, but it gives just a little more room,” Osmundson said of the new vehicle. “It gives us that heated cargo area, and the nice thing about Fords is they’re all-wheel drive.”

Claus said police have been borrowing larger vehicles from other city departments during inclement weather, a problem that is solved by owning the new Utilities.

“Their purchase cost is fairly similar, their operating costs are similar, their maintenance costs are similar (to the sedan),” Claus said.

The Utility is about 69 inches tall, 8 inches taller than the Ford Police Interceptor Sedan, according to Ford’s official website. The two get similar in-town gas mileage, Osmundson said.

Increased leg and head room, for officers and suspects, is a huge reason why police are turning to the Utility, he said.

“Like your desk, a squad car is really the officer’s space, and getting in and out of a Utility vehicle is obviously a lot easier,” he said.

Resale values of the Utility are also expected to be higher than the sedans, Osmundson said.

Police vehicles are typically replaced after they reach 100,000 miles, which usually takes three years, Osmundson said.


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Readers can reach Forum reporter Erik Burgess at (701) 241-5518