More questions raised about new APD patrol cars - FOX 13 News

More questions raised about new APD patrol cars

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Top city leaders in Atlanta have requested that action be taken after safety concerns about new police cars were raised by officers.

The Atlanta Police Department said that it had to find an alternative to the traditional police cruiser after Ford stopped production of the Crown Victoria.

As FOX 5 first reported, some officers said that they are having trouble seeing out of the rear view mirrors of the new vehicles. Officers say the new mirror is smaller and angled in a way that prevents them from seeing over the emergency light bar that stretches across the back.

"They feel uncomfortable with it. You're putting them in a bad situation because they are thinking about it, ‘Who is cutting in front of me? Who's not?' Or maneuvering around these people trying to get to an emergency situation," said Kliff Grimes of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers. "Any situation is a bad situation and basically something is going to occur."

Atlanta City Councilmember Michael Bond, the chair of the Public Safety Panel, saw the FOX 5 report and questioned APD Deputy Chief Erika Shields about the mirrors.

Shields said that the department has talked to Ford about making changes to improve the situation.

Space in the vehicles has been another complaint by some of the taller officers. Some officers have told their supervisors that they don't fit in the new vehicles. In one case, an officer who said he couldn't fit into the vehicle was told to go on a downtown foot beat.

"I think that is a little ridiculous in that, having that situation," Grimes said. "You don't really punish that officer because they are taller or they are shorter, you know, by saying, ‘OK, we will just put you on a foot beat."

Some Atlanta officers said they wish the department would have followed the lead of the state and purchased the roomier Dodge Charger.

Shields said they examined the options and, on balance, she believes that they purchased the best vehicle.

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