LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) — A long-time symbol of law enforcement agencies across the country is becoming extinct.
The classic Ford Crown Victoria was once the squad car of choice for pulling over lawbreakers, but Ford stopped making the vehicle in 2011.
The Nevada Highway Patrol is retiring its last one.
“It's bittersweet,” explained NHPTrooper Jason Buratczuk. “I think it was made so iconic because of Cops TV."
John O’Rourke is the interim chief for NHP. He used to drive a Crown Vic back in the day.
“I know when I was a trooper a long time ago, I actually pushed a semi with my Crown Vic,” said O’Rourke.
The Crown Vic is a gas guzzler, but part of its appeal was its sheer size.
“It has plenty of room in the back seat for prisoners. The trunk area is large enough for us to put all our equipment,” explained O’Rourke.
Stephen Kennedy, NHP’s garage manager says it’s a reliable car.
“It's very dependable. We could fix it very cheaply and quickly. So, there wasn't a lot of down time,” said Kennedy.
The classic car has been replaced with the more fuel-efficient Dodge Chargers and Ford SUVs.
Both cars have technology the Crown Vic can’t compete with.
“We can take phone calls from dispatchers without having to pull over. And then when we initiate a traffic stop, we can initiate our lights right from the steering wheel,” explained Buratczuk as he sounded the sirens.
The newer cars are safer for troopers, but certainly not as iconic.
“We have visitors come from all over the world. We had some German police officers come down to the office and wanted to trade some patches and get a tour of our vehicles,” explained Buratczuk.
“We had the brand new Chargers that just came in. They didn't want to look at the Chargers. They wanted to look at the Ford Crown Victoria. I said, 'You don't want to check out the new Chargers?' The German police officer said, 'This is the iconic police car,'” Buratczuk continued.
The iconic car was one-time, a favorite for Nevada Highway Patrol troopers, but its glory days are now in the rear-view mirror.