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Campus Notebook: Capitol Police Plan Upgrade to Car Fleet Over Three Years

If the police cars around the Capitol seem extra shiny lately, it’s for good reason: The Capitol Police are phasing in new vehicles to replace the existing fleet.

The department will see 201 upgraded cars over the next three fiscal years: 75 cars this year, 75 next year and 51 in 2012. They will replace cars that are in poor condition or have high mileage.

“You’ll see both old and new as we make the full transition,” police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said. “Phase one has begun, which is why some new vehicles are mixed in with the old in the field. Each phase will likely follow the same model.”

The cars will be leased through the General Services Administration, rather than purchased, which Schneider said will save the department $2.6 million over five years.

The lack of an efficient maintenance program had left the department with an unreliable fleet and high parts and repair costs — problems that are eliminated by leasing the vehicles, Schneider said.

The new cars have upgraded safety features such as multiple air bags, anti-lock brake systems and personal safety systems. They are also equipped with LED lights, which are brighter, she said.

Once fully phased in, 90 percent of the vehicles will run on alternative fuel, she said.

The House Administration Committee, which oversees the Capitol Police, was briefed and approved the decision, said a spokesman for Chairman Robert Brady (D-Pa.).

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