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Tyrone Borough Police Dept. shows off new Charger

Tyrone PD’s fleet
The Tyrone Borough Police Department has completed its fleet of new vehicles, opting to go with new Dodge Chargers over the more common Ford Crown Victoria. Police chief Joe Beachem, left, said the vehicles have been more reliable than the “Crown Vics” and are comparable in price. Officer Matt Lutz, right, agreed. Police department secretary Linda Montanaro, center, said she likes the department’s new SUV, a Dodge Durango. (The Daily Herald/Rob Carolus)

The Dodge Charger, well-known due to its prominence in the popular 80s TV series, “The Dukes of Hazzard,” has always had a reputation for being fast, stylish and rugged, so last year, DaimlerChrysler reintroduced the “muscle car” with a sleek, new look for the 21st century.
Along with the “regular Charger” that’s available to anyone who wants one, DaimlerChrysler also released a suped-up police cruiser version in 2006, and since then, police agencies all around America have been taking a close look at the new option.
The Tyrone Borough Police Department, which now owns two of the Charger police cruisers, is among those agencies that decided to go in a different direction with their cruiser selection, and so far, they’re very pleased with the results.
“We decided to try one last year,” said Tyrone Borough Police Chief Joe Beachem. “As far as price, it was pretty comparable to what we would’ve spent — it was only about $600 more than the ‘Crown Vic’ (Ford Crown Victoria) that most police agencies, including us, have been using for years.
“The thing was, we were having ongoing maintenance issues with the Crown Vics, so when came time to purchase a new cruiser, we decided to give the Charger a chance.”
Beachem said they couldn’t be more happy with the decision as their first Charger performed at such a high level.
Unlike the civilian version, the Charger police cruiser features upgraded heavy-duty brakes, a severe-duty cooling system, police-performance electronic stability program, police performance-tuned steering and a gear shifter that is mounted on the steering column instead of in the center console. In place of the center console, Dodge has equipped the police edition with a steel plate appropriate for mounting radio equipment, computers and controllers for lights and sirens.
The police model also features a 340 hp Hemi V8, powerful enough to accelerate the car from 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds and to a top speed of 150 mph. In Michigan State Police and California Highway Patrol testing, the Charger V8 easily outperformed all other pursuit vehicles in acceleration, cornering and braking. The only car to perform better in braking was the Dodge Magnum, which stopped slightly faster in some tests.
The new Charger worked out so well for the Tyrone Police that they picked up another new one this year.
“The price for the Charger police cruiser actually came down when we acquired our second new one this year,” Chief Beachem said. “When the Crown Vics, which were having problems with anyway, became more expensive, it was even easier to decide to go with another Charger.
“Our officers seem to be pretty happy with the change.”
Just ask Officer Greg Ray.
“It’s a better vehicle,” Ray said. “We were having a lot of problems with the rear ends in the Crown Vics so I’m personally very happy with the change.”
Officer Matt Lutz added, “The Chargers definitely handle a lot better than the Fords.”
The Tyrone Police also acquired a Dodge Durango SUV to round out its new stable of vehicles and Beachem said its gone a long way to improving the department’s ability to respond, especially in bad weather and “off-road” situations.
“With the Durango, we’re able to get into places we just couldn’t get to before,” the chief said. “In previous winters, there have been instances where, due to bad road conditions, we’ve gotten stuck responding to calls. The SUV solved that problem.”