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Manteca patrol units will soon be 100 percent Chevy Tahoes
The device between the fire hydrant and hose is a meter with a backflow device. If you see water being taken form a fire hydrant with using such a device snap photo and note markings on the truck sand the time and forward it to the Manteca Public Works Department. - photo by Photo Contributed

Chevrolet’s old ad jingle “solid like a rock” is resonating well with Manteca Police and taxpayers.

Chevy Tahoe patrol units are slowly taking over Manteca’s marked patrol fleet beating out the Dodge Charger in everything from reliability and day-to-day functions to longevity.

Police Chief Nick Obligacion is slowly turning the Manteca Police black and white fleet into all Tahoes buying two of the SUVs each year to replace existing vehicles that are ready to be retired. One Challenger is being replaced ahead of schedule after an officer driving on the 120 Bypass was rear-ended effectively totaling the vehicle.

The Tahoe — that can cost anywhere between $10,000 and $20,000 more than a Charger  — have a 70 percent longer life expectancy averaging 170,000 miles of useful service compared to 100,000 for the Chargers.

It’s not that the Chargers are bad vehicles. The problem is for today’s police work that requires a lot of electronic equipment the Dodge vehicle struggles to keep things going. It’s because California air rules won’t let the idle be adjusted due to emission issues. The Tahoe — since it is basically a truck under environmental ratings — doesn’t have any such issues.

Add in the durability and the ease that officers can get in and out of vehicles plus it is easier to place suspects into rear seats thanks to the room makes it a no-brainer.

The department started switching to Chargers and Tahoes in the summer of 2006 when Ford indicated they were phasing the Crown Victoria out of production. 

Tahoes come equipped with suspension and brake systems that meet tough police specifications.

If the bad guys think the Tahoes are sluggish and less nimble, they’d better guess again. Manteca Police — prior to buying their first Tahoe — attended an annual track test of police vehicles in the Los Angeles area and was able to put the Ford Crown Victoria and the Chevy Tahoe SUV — both built to police specifications — to the test and came away completely convinced the Tahoe was the better pursuit vehicle.

There’s another advantage of police using Tahoe units. They can sneak up on many people because in the rear view mirror they don’t fit the profile of a patrol unit.

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Keeping an eye on water trucks

Reader Darrell Bottoms snapped a photo this week of a water truck pulling water out of the fire hydrant on the comer of Manzanita and Azalea near Joshua Cowell School. He was concerned they may not be authorized to use the water like a Modesto firm was dinged for  last month.

As it turns out, the use is legit. If you see water truck taking water from a fire hydrant with the device as shown in the photo, it is actually a meter. That means the company will end up paying about $100 a truck load for the water they use.

By this time next month, the city expects to be set up so contractors will take water for dust control and such from purple fire hydrants at the wastewater treatment plant that will disperse recycled wastewater.

There will be no charge for the water. That will essentially more than offset the costs concurred in manpower and time to drive further to the treatment plant instead of the nearest fire hydrant.