Sheriff’s office unveils new patrol vehicles, design

Photo by the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office Sheriff Joe Gerace is pictured with the department’s new Ford Interceptor Utility patrol vehicle. The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office is upgrading its entire fleet while also introducing a new design, from white and red to black and gold coloring.

The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office has begun rolling out its new fleet of sport utility vehicles, and with it comes a new look.

The first of the Ford Interceptor Utility vehicles began its patrol Wednesday and will be used by the K-9 unit. Sheriff Joe Gerace said around nine new trucks will be put into service this year once equipment — including radios, graphics and EMS gear — is installed.

The Sheriff’s Office will go from Chevrolet Impalas with its iconic red and white design to an all sport utility fleet with black, gold and red coloring.

In addition, all lights will be inside the trucks, which Gerace said will increase durability and cut down on the “persistent hum” that is produced when wind rushes under the lights currently attached atop the cars.

It’s the space, though, that was a major selling point for the Sheriff’s Office.

“These vehicles offer so much more,” Gerace said Wednesday, noting that deputies typically carry a lot of equipment while on patrol. “These vehicles become mobile offices. With what we have now, there is no space left in the car.”

The Sheriff’s Office budgeted funds to update its aging fleet beginning this year. Deputies have used Impalas for more than a decade to make patrols throughout the county.

However, the Impala model was no longer available when it came time for the Sheriff’s Office to make an upgrade. Gerace said the department looked at a variety of options — including the Chevy Tahoe and Dodge Durango — before settling on the Ford Interceptor Utility, the SUV version of the sedan Ford offers for police departments.

Gerace said cost and gas mileage played a factor in choosing Ford. He said all-wheel-drive vehicles were important to have as well considering winter road conditions.

“These things will look amazing when they come out the door,” Gerace said.

The sheriff said it will “take some time” for the entire fleet to be replaced. Deputies will continue to use the Impalas until all the new trucks have been put into service.

As for the new color scheme, Gerace said he was looking for a “unique and significant change.” He said now was the perfect time to make the switch as new trucks were purchased.

“It was time for an upgrade,” Gerace said. “We’ve been using red and white pretty much my entire career. It was time for a new look. It’s bold yet it’s simple.”


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