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Lathrop Police Services switching to Chevy Tahoe patrol vehicles
chevy patrol

The next time a Lathrop Police vehicle gets behind you, it may look a little bit different than what you’re used to.

On Monday the Lathrop City Council voted to approve spending $210,000 that was budgeted for upgrading the existing Lathrop Police Services fleet to purchase three Chevy Tahoe patrol vehicles and a BMW traffic motorcycle.

The three Chevy Tahoe’s that will be purchased from Chase Chevrolet in Stockton will replace traditional patrol sedan which, according to Lathrop Police Chief Ryan Biedermann, are getting harder and harder to come by – Chevrolet stopped manufacturing the Caprice Classic which was a popular choice for many police departments, and transmissions issues with Dodge sedans make them less than optimal alternatives.

In addition to the accessibility, the Tahoe’s offer additional storage space and rugged reliability – built on a full-size pickup chassis as opposed to smaller sedan frame.

The BMW motorcycle, which will be ordered from BMW of Long Beach, will come fully ready for police use and will be implemented immediately thanks to the council’s approval of a new motor officer to help with ongoing traffic issues.

According to Biedermann, the number one complaint from residents whenever he holds forums where people are allowed to share their concerns is and has always been traffic, and his office has been attempting to increase patrols in those areas.

Lathrop has proved over the last 18 months that they’re willing to think outside of the box when it comes to providing vehicles suited for the needs of its department.

Just recently the department rolled out a Ford F-150 pickup truck that had been outfitted for police use, and have already implemented the Tahoe as a full-sized, fully-functional SUV patrol unit.

The agency is also waiting on grant funding that will allow for the purchase of a Tesla Model 3 that will be configured for police use, although Biedermann isn’t sure exactly how that vehicle will be used once it arrives. A number of agencies in California, including the City of Fremont, have incorporated the fully-electric Tesla into their motor pool, but the implementation – which cuts fuel and maintenance costs significantly – hasn’t been without a few hiccups.

A high-speed pursuit in the Bay Area that involved a Tesla police vehicle made headlines when the officer had to call off the chase because the juice in the battery would not allow him to maintain the speeds necessary to follow the suspect.

The council’s biannual budget for 2019-21 earmarked funding for the purchase of nine new police vehicles to replace aging models that are nearing the end of their useful life thanks to the rigors of daily patrol driving and the hard demands of law enforcement. The current fiscal year budgeted for the purchase of six of those vehicles, meaning that the agency has the ability to replace two more between now and the end of June and still stay within the money that was allotted by council.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.