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Getting There: WSP’s newest Crown Vic marks end of an era

Washington State Trooper Paul Wanzenried has been assigned the last Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor in the WSP fleet. Ford has stopped making the cars, forcing WSP and other law agencies to come up with different vehicles. WSP will be switching to the Chevy Caprice.  (Dan Pelle)
Washington State Trooper Paul Wanzenried has been assigned the last Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor in the WSP fleet. Ford has stopped making the cars, forcing WSP and other law agencies to come up with different vehicles. WSP will be switching to the Chevy Caprice. (Dan Pelle)

The Ford Crown Victoria, the classic law enforcement patrol car, is coming to a dead end.

The last new Ford Crown Vic Police Interceptor sedan in the fleet of the Washington State Patrol is now on the road in Spokane and Lincoln counties.

Trooper Paul Wanzenried took delivery of the specially equipped 2011 model earlier this summer and already has about 2,000 miles on it.

Ford stopped production last year of its Police Interceptor version of the Crown Vic in favor of a new vehicle that looks like a combination of a Ford Explorer and Taurus.

The WSP is switching to a specially built Chevrolet Caprice that is available only to law enforcement, WSP Sgt. Travis Robbins said.

Law enforcement agencies also have a choice of a Dodge Charger.

A lot of officers are going to miss the old Crown Vic, also known as a CVPI.

“They are just reliable,” Wanzenried said last week. “They’ve been the workhorse of any law enforcement agency of the last 20 years.

“When you think of a police car, this is what you think of.”

A small ceremony dedicating the last Crown Vic was held at WSP headquarters in Tumwater when mechanics completed their work outfitting the car with the agency’s light bar and communication systems.

One of the workers placed an inscription inside the engine compartment.

“This is the last fog line CVPI built for WSP upfitted the first week of June, 2012. May it serve its trooper well and safely,” the inscription reads.

Wanzenried, who averages 300 miles per night, said he is confident he can safely drive the vehicle until it reaches its maturity at around 150,000 miles in the next three to four years.

The vehicle is equipped with a new single-decked LED light bar that offers an array of options, including a strobe effect. It has a new radio and laptop printer on a mobile office platform. It’s equipped with a push bar in front and heavy-duty suspension, plus Ford’s V-8 engine.

“It’s a big, heavy vehicle,” Wanzenried said.

Valley restrictions, closures

Three new street preservation projects will start today in Spokane Valley: Fourth Avenue from Dishman-Mica Road to Farr Road, Dishman-Mica Road from 16th Avenue to Schafer Road, and Vista Road between Mission and Nora avenues.

Traffic on Fourth will be reduced to one lane during work hours of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., with flaggers controlling traffic. Parking is not allowed from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The work involves patching and a new overlay of asphalt.

Dishman-Mica is receiving similar work but will have one lane of traffic in each direction from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Patching and a new asphalt overlay will also be placed on Vista Road, where flaggers will run traffic on a single lane during the same work hours.

Also in Spokane Valley, work on University Road from Fourth to 16th avenues will resume during the week of Aug. 6, continuing through Aug. 13.

Traffic will be limited during work hours from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., including closure of the intersection of University Road and Eighth Avenue for about four hours during paving work.

Euclid rehab starts today

In Spokane, a $1.4 million project to rehabilitate East Euclid Avenue from Crestline to Market streets will start today. The street will be closed to traffic, but local access will be maintained.

New water lines are being installed. The new roadbed and pavement are being financed through a voter-approved bond issue. Red Diamond Construction is the general contractor.

Who would have gassed?

Anyone who has gassed up in Oregon knows that our neighbor to the south won’t let you pump your own fuel.

Drivers there apparently like the law the way it is. Two out of three drivers in a new poll commissioned by PEMCO Insurance said they like letting someone else do the fueling.

In Washington, two out of three drivers like the state’s system of self service.

It appears drivers in both states prefer the system they’ve got, a PEMCO spokesman said in a news release.

Oregon banned self-service stations in 1951 and has maintained the ban for safety reasons as well as employment opportunities.



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