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City gets new patrol car

By Judith Pannebaker

It might not be as colorful as Bo and Luke Duke’s favorite mode of transportation, but the newest addition to the Bandera Police Department looks just as good to Police Chief Jim Eigner and his crew.

Delivered earlier this week, the 2009 Dodge Charger patrol car sports a police package with all the bells and whistles near and dear to the hearts of law enforcement officers. City council approved the $25,300 vehicle during their last budget session.

According to Eigner, the Charger police package includes upgraded brakes and a heavier suspension, as well as a high performance engine.

It also features a specialized wiring harness for departmental electronic gear, including the light bar on the top of the vehicle, which often initiates a “pucker factor” in motorists.

A keyboard on a center console controls most of the patrol car’s electronics such as light bar and siren, radio and video equipment. Additionally, the car has cloth front seats for the officer’s comfort and a vinyl backseat for easier maintenance.

“Dodge is the only car manufacturer that makes a patrol car with a V-6 engine,” Eigner said. “Crown Vics only come with V-8 engines. Since I have a ‘no pursuit’ policy we really don’t need that large an engine. There’s no crime in this city that would necessitate a 105 mile per hour chase.” He also said the smaller engine would save the city on fuel, but added, “It’s still plenty fast enough for our purposes.”

In addition, the department’s maxim: “Your Safety is Our Business” is prominently emblazoned on the vehicle’s front doors. “After all, public safety is what it’s all about whether we’re investigating a burglary, a case of domestic violence or stopping an intoxicated driver,” Eigner said. He described his department’s axiom as a variation on the perennial law enforcement theme, “To Protect and Serve.”

Carlyn Deerburg of Bandera Signs and Banners applied the graphic detailing, Eigner said.

After installation of the vehicle’s radio and video camera and recorder, the patrol car will be ready for duty.