Battle Ground police smelling that new-car aroma

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

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Drive through Battle Ground in the next couple of weeks and you might do a double-take.

The police department is replacing its aging patrol fleet with new cop cars. The 2013-2014 budget paid for three new vehicles, each costing about $65,000: a Ford Interceptor sedan, a Ford Interceptor utility vehicle and a Chevy Tahoe.

The Interceptors will debut at today's Harvest Day Parade in Battle Ground and start patrol next week.

Ford ceased production of the Crown Victoria, which for decades was the go-to choice for police agencies.

Advances in braking, fuel management and safety systems make each of the new vehicles more effective and efficient than the old Crown Victorias, according to the City of Battle Ground.

Other agencies using the new Ford and Chevy vehicles save in fuel and maintenance costs, the city said.

Battle Ground patrol vehicles rack up about 17,000 miles per year, retiring at about 100,000 miles.