New Bel Air police cars hit the streets

Bel Air has four new police cars on the streets and is gradually phasing out the old cars.
Bel Air has four new police cars on the streets and is gradually phasing out the old cars. (Photo courtesy of Detective Sergeant Jim Lockard Bel Air Police)

The Bel Air Police Department's four new cars hit the streets recently, and they may turn some people's hands.

The cruisers look very different from the green-and-white style typical of the other Bel Air police cars. Instead, they are black, with the police name spelled in white, looking similar to Aberdeen police cars.


No further details were available Monday or Tuesday from the heads of Bel Air police, who were off Monday an in meetings most of Tuesday.

The Ford Taurus vehicles were originally set to be ready in September but faced some delays. They are now being seen out and about town.

The department is trying to move away from the white cars with green lettering and trim scheme that has been in use nearly 25 years.

The Board of Town Commissioners approved the purchase of the four new cars and the equipment for them during the Aug. 20 town meeting.

The new cruisers' paint scheme will be used on all subsequent replacement models in the department's fleet, according to Deputy Chief Rick Peschek, who dated the white and green color scheme to the days of "Tollgate Mall [now Tollgate Marketplace] before Route 24 was finished," which would be in the mid-to late-1980s.

"We felt it was time to move forward a little bit," he said, predicting that the difference in the new cars, equipment and paint scheme will be "like night and day," when compared to the existing vehicles.

Peschek also said earlier the cars had been sometimes mistaken for BGE vehicles and had other "issues."

The four cars were being purchased through a state contract from Apple Ford in Columbia at a cost of $93,792, or $23,445 each, including a total trade-in allowance of $14,400, according to the information Chief Leo Matrangola presented to the board of town commissioners Aug. 20.

The board also awarded a $14,400 contract to Brekford in Hanover to equip the vehicles with light bars, sirens, grille lights and consoles. Another contract for $26,000 was awarded to Brekford for the onboard computers, software and radio equipment.

According to Matrangola, the four Chevrolet Caprices being retired range in age from model year 2002 to 2005 with 88,000 to 95,000 miles on them.

The new cars and equipment were being financed through a $255,000 loan from BB&T Bank that was also approved by the town board on Aug. 20. The seven-year loan carries an annual interest rate of 1.94 percent, according to Lisa Moody, the town finance director.