Saanich police Sgt. Steve Eassie and Const. Jennifer Maher show two of the potential new fleet of police cars

Saanich police Sgt. Steve Eassie and Const. Jennifer Maher show two of the potential new fleet of police cars

Saanich cops test new rides

Yellow and blue Ford Crown Victorias will be phased out to make way for their brand new black and white counterparts

Saanich Police Department’s public image has had a makeover.

The old yellow and blue Ford Crown Victorias will be phased out to make way for their brand new dark blue and white counterparts.

“We recognized it was time for us to modernize the fleet,” said Sgt. Steve Eassie.

The police department purchased five different vehicles this year, and will put them through their paces over the next 12 months before deciding which ones will become the departmental standard.

The department is testing out a Dodge Charger, a Ford Interceptor sedan, a Ford Interceptor sport utility, as well as a Chevy Tahoe and a Chevy van.

“What we’re going to be doing is testing the vehicle for reliability, maintenance and just overall comfort level for our membership,” Eassie said. “Then we’ll talk to our members and make a decision on what the future of our fleet holds.”

The department unveiled the new fleet Thursday, and Eassie expects the vehicles will be on the road operational by the weekend.

“There will certainly be some interest by our members in wanting to drive the new vehicles,” he said. “I think we’ll be required to likely allocate them so everybody gets an opportunity to drive them.”

Purchasing the new vehicles this year cost the department $192,000.

Once a replacement fleet has been chosen, the Crown Victorias are expected to be phased out completely in Saanich by 2018 or 2019.

kslavin@saanichnews.com