Eight brand new police cruisers unveiled in Lawrence

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Jul. 19—LAWRENCE — The shiny Ford SUVs aren't just new police cruisers.

"They are basically an office inside a vehicle," explained Police Chief Roy Vasque.

Eight new police cruisers were officially unveiled Tuesday morning in the front parking lot of the Lawrence Police Department.

The cruisers, Ford Police Interceptor SUVs, were purchased and outfitted with computers, lights, sirens and other technology for a combined $300,000, officials said.

Vasque said officers assigned to the cruisers can do a variety of tasks, including accessing arrest information and compiling police reports, without having to return to the station.

The new vehicles are a far cry from the cruisers Vasque and other officers had coming up through the ranks. Those older cruisers could have problems with their lights and doors. Sometimes, the cruisers were literally duct-taped together, he said.

Mayor Brian DePena said the new cruisers are great for the morale of the department and for the city.

Annually, Lawrence police officers respond to 70,000 calls for service and they should have the latest and most advanced equipment, he said.

In addition to emergency calls, marked patrols also play a key role in the department's community policing outreach. The cruisers are often visible at schools, parks, parades and other events, DePena noted.

State Rep. Marcos Devers (D-Lawrence) remarked on the connection between safety and quality of life. The new cruisers are a visible part of enhancing security in Lawrence, he said.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.