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WSP issues their last Crown Victoria to Spokane area trooper | News

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WSP issues their last Crown Victoria to Spokane area trooper
News, Transportation
WSP issues their last Crown Victoria to Spokane area trooper

For almost twenty years, the Crown Victoria has been the vehicle of choice among law enforcement agencies across the United States. Driver’s eyes are trained to recognize the low-riding and gliding shark on the highways with their startling blue-red flashing lights. Now it’s time to recognize a new vehicle for Washington State Patrol troopers.

Ford halted their production on the vehicle last fall opting to switch over to a new model. WSP has been preparing for the change since the last of the Police Interceptors came off the assembly line in Chicago. They decided they would be switching to the Chevrolet Caprice. While many troopers will be replacing their patrol vehicles with the Caprice, one trooper in Lincoln County requested the last Crown Victoria issued to the agency.

Tpr. Paul Wanzenried made the trek to Tumwater in June to pick up his new ride. He was met by a ceremony as WSP said farewell to one of the last of its kind that is now the mobile office for the Eastern Washington trooper.

“I think it’s a historic event for WSP and watching their last Crown Vic go out the door... As for me having it. It is what it is,” Tpr. Wanzenried said. “It’s the end of a legacy. I wanted to take it into retirement.”

The trooper has already put on over 2,000 miles since receiving the car. The vehicles are typically decommissioned around 150,000 miles, but before they reach that mileage, they’re re-issued to WSP cadets.

For the 8-year-veteran in the agency, his last vehicle lacked many tools he has now. Prior to his new ride, everything was on paper. Wanzenried says he became known for keeping his “office” clean even before the new vehicle, but now he has a printer for tickets, a camera system to record incidents and even his own patrol laptop. His new vehicle issued to him is outfitted like all the agency’s new Caprices from fleet. Some of these tools, common in other agencies, are luxuries to Wanzenried.

“We don’t have as much cool technology, but with over 1,000 cars, it’s costly,” Wanzenried said.

Multiple factors added to WSP’s decision to switch to the Caprice including the roomy interior up front and for whomever is in the back. In WSP’s January newsletter, they explained the Caprice’s interior is almost eight cubic feet larger than the Crown Victoria interior. The Caprice was also cheaper than Ford’s upcoming sedan model of the Police Interceptor by $1,300.

By the time WSP had to make a decision on a new vehicle, the production of Ford’s new Police Interceptor was not completed so there was no opportunity to test drive it.

As Wanzenried’s fellow troopers start their shifts in the new vehicles and he remains inside the Crown Victoria, some things will stay the same. Drivers continue to recognize the symbol of law on the roads.

“[While driving a Crown Victoria] everyone has their little halos on. When I’m in my personal car, I see all sorts of crazy things,” Tpr. Wanzenried said.

Just before Tpr. Wanzenried’s new car was issued into the field, WSP shared a message that you can only read when you pop the hood: “This is the final fog line CVPI built for WSP, upfitted the 1st week of June, 2012! May it serve its trooper well and safe.”

Other Crown Victorias remain in the agency, but as they reach retirement, they will be replaced with the Caprice.

Read more: We went on a ride-along with Trooper Paul Wanzenried last week where we got to learn all about his new office. During the four hour ride-along, he wrote three tickets for speeders and gave one courtesy ride to  a man and a young boy. Here's the Storify version of that ride-along featuring tweets and photos. 

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