CPD Giving New Cars a Snow Job

The Chicago Mayor was passing the blame to previous administrations Wednesday morning, this time about the 2008 Chicago Police Department purchase of Chevy Tahoes.

Ford Police Inceptor to be received by the Chicago Police Department

Ford Police Inceptor to be received by the Chicago Police Department

“Anybody who would purchase a vehicle with two-wheel [drive] for the Chicago Police Department, clearly doesn’t understand our winters,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said during a morning press conference showing off the new Chicago Police Ford Inceptor police car.

The contracted 2,000 Chevy Tahoes purchased by the Daley administration at the time because of its performance in an annual test of police vehicles administered by the Michigan State Police. It earned high marks in the 2011 test that measures qualities such as top speed, braking distance and ergonomics.

But in an effort to save fuel costs, they purchased the standard police Front Wheel Drive version, instead of a much more expensive and gas guzzling 4×4. Unlike the previous rear-wheel drive Chicago Police vehicle, the classic Crown Victoria, the Tahoe handled far better in Chicago’s winters.

But now, Emanuel and McCarthy say that was a mistake.

The new Ford models, much like the style of the Taurus you would see, come equipped with anti-lock breaks, power steering, longer seat belt locks, and most importantly in crime fighting, all wheel drive. This means that police officers can now take blind turns up to 40 miles an hour. “It takes the average driver and almost essentially turns them into a race car driver” is what Jason Holehouse was quoted saying to The Chicago Sun-Times, back in October of this year.

But where are the facts about Chicago police cars not being able to handle winters?

Alaska State Trooper Ford Crown Victoria Patrol Vehicle

Alaska State Trooper Ford Crown Victoria Patrol Vehicle

Back in the Blizzard of 2011, where Chicago received 21.2 inches of snow, there were few reports of stuck police cars.

Better yet, in a state that receives far more snow than Illinois, the Alaska State Troopers rely primarily on the Crown Victoria and the Chevy Tahoe to respond to emergency calls, neither vehicle a 4×4 patrol car.

So, is Chicago just playing the blame game here? Or what is really is going on?


Tom Degutis and Paris Lewbel contributed to this article.