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Buffalo police switching to Dodge Chargers

Buffalo police cruisers are again getting a new look.

After switching from Ford Crown Victorias to the larger, but more fuel-efficient Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs, Buffalo police are now turning to Dodge Chargers.

The Tahoes got too expensive, costing about $49,000 each for the police-package vehicles, said purchasing director William L. Sunderlin.

The Chargers will cost about $38,500 each, he said.

And in addition to being less costly, the Chargers will have all-wheel drive, a feature expected to be a plus during Buffalo winters, officials said.

The Tahoes are two-wheel drive, according to Lovejoy Council Member Richard A. Fontana, who chairs the Common Council’s Finance Committee.

Fontana said he’s heard from police offices who have complained the Tahoes don’t always perform well in the snow. In fact, at one point, the city had to put snow tires on its Tahoe fleet, Fontana said.

Sunderlin appeared before the Council’s Finance Committee Tuesday to discuss the police car purchases. The Council in coming weeks expects to authorize the city to purchase 20 to 25 of the new vehicles, all Dodge Chargers, Fontana said.

The result will be a fleet that is a combination of Dodge Chargers and Chevy Tahoes, Fontana said.

The city began buying Tahoes in 2014, when it purchased about 50 of the SUVs. At the time, the price was less than $30,000, Sunderlin said.

The Tahoes became the police car of choice for many departments after Ford phased out the Crown Victorias, previously thecruiser used in Buffalo and by many other police departments.