ZPD putting new cruisers on the roadway with enhanced safety features for officers


Jessica Johnston

Cruiser 6 was introduced to the road today during day shift with the Zanesville Police Department. Cruiser 42, the new K-9 cruiser, is awaiting one last feature addition before it can hit the road.

By Jessica Johnston, Assistant News Director

As technology advances, so does safety for law enforcement officers.

Monday morning, the Zanesville Police Department introduced two new cruisers to the force.

The Ford Explorers have a similar, but upgraded, look to the exterior with the addition of new light bars and interior technology advancements.

Red and blue flashing light atop of police cars are becoming a thing of the past as many departments, Zanesville included, are opting for all blue lights on the tops of cruisers.

“We felt that the blue lights are more visible, especially at night time, well and daytime, that you can see them from a farther distance and sometimes, we always thought, the blue and reds kind of blend together,” Zanesville Police Chief Tony Coury said.

The visibility of the lights is an added safety precaution for patrolmen working the road.

“These cars now … they’re visible from all four sides,” Coury added. “There’s a light flashing on all four sides.”

In addition to the new lights, the two new cruisers are equipped with new computer systems — Panasonic Toughbooks, as well as Panasonic cameras.

“A lot of departments are going with the Panasonic. State Patrol is running the Panasonic, and we had good reviews from them, good reviews for the Panasonic camera,” Coury said.

The two new cruisers, one of which is a K-9 vehicle, were ordered during summer 2018. In order to build the Explorers into police cars, ZPD contracted with Buckeye Auto Care, LLC in Mount Vernon which specializes in building law enforcement vehicles.

Due to a couple of parts and IT delays, the vehicles, which were delivered in March, took some extra time getting prepared for full operation.

Cruiser 6 took to the road Monday morning following its unveiling.

Cruiser 42, the K-9 vehicle, is awaiting one feature installation before it will be fully operational. One upgraded feature of the K-9 cruiser is a system that sends a notification to the K-9 handler’s belt to alert them if the dog’s air conditioning is not working. That feature will also roll the windows down for the dog if there is an issue with the air.

Each year, the Zanesville Police Department attempts to replace a couple of old cruisers with new vehicles. Due to halted production of Explorers by Ford until late 2019 or 2020, cars 6 and 42 will be the last addition to the department for a while, Coury said.

Prior to the addition of the new vehicles, the department was operating on a shortage of cruisers due to various reasons.

“We’re better able to manage now because (the vehicles) are more reliable,” Coury said.