Alabaster rolls out new police Tahoes

A new Alabaster Police Department Tahoe sits in the Alabaster City Hall parking lot after an April City Council meeting. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

A new Alabaster Police Department Tahoe sits in the Alabaster City Hall parking lot after an April 14 City Council meeting. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

Drivers in Alabaster likely have noticed much larger vehicles bearing the name “Alabaster Police” than usual over the past few weeks, as the department recently rolled out a set of new sport utility vehicle cruisers.

The Alabaster Police Department now has five new Chevrolet Tahoes rolling the streets in its patrol division, and eventually will replace its entire fleet with the sport utility vehicles.

Alabaster Police Lt. Jeff Anthony said the new Tahoes allow officers to carry all the equipment they need to respond to a wide range of calls, and said the larger vehicles allow officers to enter and exit more quickly, cutting down on precious seconds during an emergency situation.

“It’s not only an equipment issue, it’s an officer safety and convenience issue as well,” Anthony said during an April 17 interview.

Anthony said the response from the officers who have been issued the Tahoes has been positive.

“They’ve had an opportunity to settle into them a little bit, and they love them,” Anthony said. “They are much more comfortable, which, quite honestly, cuts down on some of the fatigue from being in a vehicle for so long.

“We are appreciative of the City Council for purchasing them for us,” Anthony added.

The City Council voted in February to approve $100,000, which was already included in the fiscal year 2014 budget, to help purchase and outfit the patrol Tahoes, a Ford F-150 for the department’s traffic homicide unit and a Tahoe to serve as the police chief’s vehicle.

Alabaster Police Chief Curtis Rigney previously said the department considered several options when choosing new vehicles to replace its Ford Crown Victoria patrol cars, which are no longer being manufactured.

The new police Tahoes are painted silver, and include “Alabaster Police” and “Duty, Honor, Community” decals along the side.

Alabaster now mirrors other area law enforcement agencies using the sport utility vehicles, such as Hoover, Helena and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.