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After difficulties finding replacement cruisers, sheriff’s office considering new brand

HOULTON, Maine — Faced with ever-increasing issues in procuring replacement cruisers for deputies, the  Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office is exploring a change to a different brand of vehicle.

Aroostook County Sheriff Shawn Gillen informed members of the County Commissioners during a Tuesday meeting in Houlton that he has been having increasing difficulty ordering Ford Interceptors.

The sheriff’s office traditionally has used Ford Interceptor SUVs and sedans for all of its deputies.

Gillen explained that while he was able to find two Ford Interceptors from a dealership in Bangor, those were the only two available in the state, with dealerships not taking any more orders until 2020, when a new, redesigned Interceptor is unveiled.

“We can’t order Ford Interceptors right now,” Gillen said. “We were told it would not be until May 2020. I checked with some of the other counties and a lot of them have switched to the Chevy Tahoe. They are getting more miles out of them and getting more (money) out of them when they are done. So I thought I would try one and see what happens.”

Gillen said that currently all of the gear that goes into a cruiser can be taken from an existing Interceptor and used in a new one. However, once the Interceptor is redesigned, the sheriffs’ office likely will need to buy all new gear, including center consoles and gun racks.

The County received two bids for the Tahoe police package — one from Carroll’s Auto Sales in Presque Isle for $38,200 and another from Quirk Auto in Bangor for $37,766. The bid for the two Interceptors was $29,735 for each, also from Quirk Auto.

Police cruisers typically share the same civilian vehicle platform and body but with upgrades to the engine, brakes, suspension and tires; and an extra battery to run all the onboard electronics, among other amenities.

The County plans to buy both Interceptors, as well as one Tahoe, to replace vehicles with high mileage.

As has been standard practice for the commissioners, the board voted to table the bids and authorized County Administrator Ryan Pelletier to award the sale to the lowest bidder, provided they meet the bid requirements.

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