Springfield Police Division introducing black cars to patrol fleet

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

In order to maintain an operational fleet of patrol cars, the Springfield Police Division has introduced black police cars to the streets.

The cars are Ford Explorers with reflective silver paint to make them easily recognizable as police vehicles, Chief Allison Elliott said. The police bought black cars to replace white ones that had high miles and maintenance issues, and the black cars were easier to obtain than white due to supply chain concerns.

Most cruisers are driven 24 hours a day, so they are rotated out every three to five years, Elliott said. About one-third are usually rotated out annually, and the life of a cruiser can vary depending on for what it is used.

After the pandemic, the fleet was impacted by supply chain issues and cars were not being replaced, leading to more wear-and-tear and higher maintenance costs, she said.

An employee at the city garage, which works on the cruisers, offered a few black cruisers to replace some vehicles that needed rotated.

“We said, ‘Let’s get them. We’ll figure out what we’ll do when we get them here,’ because we didn’t want to take a chance and not purchase them and then not see that come back around for us,” Elliott said. “So it was an opportunity that we took advantage of knowing that we needed cars very very much.”

The fleet started with just a few black vehicles, but SPD now has 12, three of which are out on the street while others are being outfitted, Elliott said. The design between the black and white vehicles is uniform.

SPD has 30 total marked cars, Elliott said, and the community will see more black cruisers on the street within the next few months.

When last purchased in 2023, the black patrol cars were about $50,000, according to SPD. The cost is likely higher now, Elliott said. This is in line with the cost of the standard white Ford Explorers, she said.

SPD is open to eventually transitioning all patrol vehicles to black, but no decision has been made.

“We like the way the black cars look too,” Elliott said. “I think they look pretty sharp. I think they look sharp and professional and people here in the department have given a lot of positive feedback, which was pretty nice to hear.”

Elliott said SPD wants the community to recognize that these new vehicles are theirs. The logos were painted with silver reflective paint rather than a yellow or similar color to make them easily discernable from Clark County Sheriff’s Office vehicles.

“They’re not undercover or anything like that, and that is a big reason why we wanted to make sure that they’re clearly marked, because we want people to know that their police officers are showing up, and who they are,” Elliott said.

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