Ferriday adds five police cars

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 28, 2007

FERRIDAY — The Ferriday police force’s fleet of cars recently grew by approximately a quarter.

The department recently bought five new cars with funding through the Louisiana legislature, bringing the fleet to a total of 19 cars.

Four of the cars were 2008 Dodge Chargers, and one was a 2007 Ford Crown Victoria.

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Having that many cars allows the department to have backup vehicles as well as to allow the 11 full-time officers take-home vehicles, Madison said.

“When you have a visible presence in a neighborhood, it helps with police relations and works as a crime deterrent,” he said. “It also allows an officer to go directly from home to a call instead of having to go to the station and sign out a vehicle.”

The one driver per car arrangement also saves on wear-and-tear maintenance, Madison said.

“You need vehicles in good condition,” he said. “The last thing you want is to have a police officer rear-end someone because their brakes aren’t any good.”

The department has added new vehicles to its fleet every year since Mayor Gene Allen took office except 2006, Madison said.

“It is part of our five-year growth plan to get new cars every year,” Madison said.

The reason the town did not get the new cars in 2006 was not for a lack of effort, Madison said.

“We had some funds coming our way that year, but the state had to redirect them after Hurricane Katrina,” he said.

“We certainly didn’t begrudge them that, and we were able through Gov. Kathleen Blanco to get some used state police cars.”

Throughout the year, some vehicles needed replacing, such as Madison’s chief’s cruiser, which — though parked — was totaled in a bizarre parking garage accident in Lake Charles earlier this year in which it was rammed at approximately 50 miles per hour.

The car Madison chose to replace his destroyed cruiser?

“I got one of the Chargers,” he said. “When you’re chief, you get to assign cars, and I wanted one of the Chargers.”