Police spend thousands repairing new cruisers

August 2, 2010


San Luis Obispo police have spent $37,434 in seven months repairing and maintaining 10 high speed police cruisers, causing some to question if the Dodge Chargers are prone to malfunctions, or are the breakdowns the result of poor care and maintenance.

Police insiders contend that the new fleet of Dodge Chargers has been plagued with repair issues, including brake problems, two blown engines and a broken transmission at an average monthly cost of $535 per car during the past seven months.

The city purchased the 10 cars, a combination of 2008 and 2009 models, for $327,600. Since then, city and private mechanics have completed 323 work orders at a cost of $87,772, said Jay Walter, San Luis Obispo Public Works Director.

“Brakes have not been a problem other than normal wear of pads and rotors used on a pursuit vehicle of this type,” Walter added.

According to Police Fleet Manager, Chrysler has some of the best braking performance available, but expensive to maintain. The factory brake pads are notorious for wearing out after every 6,000 to 8,000 miles on some of the fleets.

Arroyo Grande Police Chief Steven Annibali elected to replace the standard high performance feature with longer lasting brakes shortly after he leased nine 2008 Dodge Chargers.

Annibali said he loves the Chargers and has had very few problems.

“It is all about the care and maintenance of the cars,” Annibali said. “If I find damage on a car, somebody is going to hear about it. It is the biggest single asset we have.”

Instead of purchasing the cruisers, Annibali elected to lease his fleet.

Municipal leases require no down payments, no mileage penalties, include repair warranties and allow the department to purchase the cruisers for $1 a car at the end of a four year lease.

The department leases each car for $630 a month. During the first seven months of 2010, monthly maintenance costs ran an average of $59.25 per car, Annibali said.

Arroyo Grande spends approximately $789 a month month for leasing, repairing and maintaining each police Charger.

In comparison, San Luis Obispo spends approximately $1,217 per Charger each month. (Amounts are based on the departments’ 2010 repair and maintenance costs, lease and purchase prices and four years of use. Police departments generally purchase a new fleet every three to four years.)

To get the highest possible resale price, Arroyo Grande decided to put a vinyl wrap with a police logo on the front doors which eliminates the requirement to repaint the cars upon resale.

When it is time to sell the cruiser, they will peel off the wrap and buff out the car. They expect to receive $3,600 for each car.

In contrast, San Luis Obispo cruisers will require a new paint job when the cars are sold and as such are not expected to receive as high a price.

In the past, San Luis Police drove Ford Crown Victorias, the same vehicles Paso Robles city officials chose to purchase in 2008 and 2009. Though the vehicles are the same age as the San Luis Obispo’s fleet, repair and maintenance costs run an average of $250 per car, less than half of what San Luis Obispo spends.

Truth Hurts

AG’s paint jobs are not what they should be by the way…Police Department’s paint jobs are usually differnt then the SO and CHp…the PD’s are supposed to have 2 white doors like SLO’s does…the SO and CHP paint jobs have on the front doors painted white…look around you will notice what I am talking about all the other PD’s are like the SLO car

Kevin Rice

What’s with all the Parkinson comments? Was he involved in the purchase? Or, are detractors just trying to throw his name into any negative SLOPD story? If he wasn’t involved then blame the Chief and the council.


SLORider…..that’s right. Money like that does not get spent without the Chief and council’s approval.


It is the Captain that submits his request to the female Chief; who in turn approves anything her little cutie wants. In turn the CC approves anything Linden wants. It’s so easy to tell the CC that the cars have been researched and are considered the best vehicle for the PD. We all know that.

The cops trash their cars and drive them like they stole them. I see them jump on the pedal all the time for no reason other than to go fast. Go fast, step on break, gun it, go fast step on brake between stop signs.


nancy…..so you think all 5 councilmembers do whatever the chief’s want? Wow.

The cop you see “jump on the pedal all the time”……how the hell so you know why he is going fast? Crystal ball???


One does not need a crystal ball to know that the SLOPD drive like *ssholes. One also not need to be an expert in something to question it, especially when it is public money involved and the explanations given are insufficient.


Look at the wheels and rims on the SLO Charger! Wonder if those were stock? Frankly I think it sends the wrong message when law enforcement drives a muscle car (and drives it into the ground).

Does anyone know if Parkinson was spearheading the purchase and then got it rubber stamped by the chief who has shown very poor judgment?

Also as I recall the council recently voted to increase bus fares. Does the Council ever question anything the PD does?

Truth Hurts

actually th wheels are the same on both AG’s And SLO’s vehicles…they are what comes from the factory…they are the same that the crown vic has


I wonder how many Chargers will be purchased for the Sheriff’s Department if Parkinson is elected, and if they will have the same issues; perhaps this is just another example of why Parkinson is not the best choice for Sheriff?


These are small towns. Why do they need big V-8s in the first place? In Europe they use Fiats, Audis and Alfa Romeos and seem to get along fine, probably use a third of the gas too.

I asked the Morro Bay Chief in 2009 when they went out and bought a couple of these big Chryslers why they needed the V-8s and why couldn’t they use a smaller more economical vehicle? I also wanted to know how they put more than 100,000 miles on a vehicle in about 2 years in a town that’s only 5 miles across?

And he said they have to be able to go at high speeds to calls in town and they have to patrol constantly, even in the middle of the night when absolutely no one is out and about in this town, the cops are patrolling like sharks after tuna.

MBPD used to have a policy of never getting into high-speed chases after one of their officers chased someone up Hwy 1 above Cayucos and the guy deliberately (or so the police said) crossed the double yellow and plowed head-on into a teacher from Cambria on his way home to Los Osos. They were both killed instantly and the shook up cop soon left the force.

Frankly, with the biggest threat to any law enforcement officer coming from car accidents, I can’t understand why any of them even engage in high speed pursuits. Unless someone is wanted for murder, they have no business chasing some guy down the freeway and onto surface streets.

If the governator, Blakeslee and the rest of the yahoos in Sacramento really wanted to protect the people, they should outlaw high-speed chases. Just get the license plate number and go pick the SOB up at home. And if the car is stolen, so what, everybody in this state is supposed to have car insurance, right?

I think cops in general just believe their shit doesn’t stink and no matter what the cost there are the faithful out there in the public who will absolutely support giving them anything they want, The taxpayers be damned.

Shoot in Morro Bay no cop has had to fire his weapon in the line of duty for the past 20 years, but they still have M-16s and tear gas grenade launchers and all the trappings of a full blown SWAT team in the trunk of every car. Unbelievable.


I remember the Aspen Colorado cops, cowboy hats in red SAAB 99s !


You need the big tubby cars like the Vic & Charger to stay alive if you choose to be in a job that requires pursuit, hot calls and most of all has a higher odds of wrecking due to a huge amount of miles traveled by these cops. Give them the big rigs, Fords doing better than Chrysler by a mile, we need to give the underdog a boost now and then.


How the hell much “pursuit” does the SLOPD undertake? Just how many “hot calls” do they get? They could do their job in 4 cylinder station wagons but it just wouldn’t look cool enough.

Truth Hurts

actaually the cops have AR 15’s the M-16 is a fully auto rifle and the law enforcement model is semi auto. THe reason they have these is that the shotgun is unreliable and innacurate at 30 yars or more with buck shot. It depends on the repartment but some do not allow the use of slugs that are more accurated then the buck shot.the AR is VERY accurate and realiable and can shot 100’s of yards down range and there is only one round you are responsible for….now about the cars and cahsing people..If the cops didnt chase anyone all you would have to do is speed off and you would get away with naything you want..is that a good lesson? just run and you dont have to face the consequences. THe charger has a stability control system that makes it turn faster and safer than the crown vics do. The crown vics will hardly go over 125mph and the charger can go well over 150 and it is safer!


Informative but hardly an argument for a safer car or anything comprehensible, read your post when you sober up, geeez!

Truth Hurts

yeah I just noticed that…sorry…was typing a little fast and no proof reading


Poppycock! Put them in 4 cylinder domestics!


Well said! Cops could drive those little 4 cylinder Toyotas just like security companies do.


They drive the hell out of those cars. I live a few blocks from the Police Station and have seen officers gun them onto Santa Rosa St. like they’re NASCAR racers. I’m sure every police force does the same thing, but c’mon: two blown engines? SLO needs someone like AG’s Chief Annibali to lay down the law.


They sure as hell didn’t drive the former Fords as hard as they do they Dodges! I watched some schmuck cop almost lose it near Higuera/Osos. That cops came close to nailing 4 people in the crosswalk. Maybe Sunshine was closing early that day or possibly having a sale?


I wonder if the same financial genuis will be applied to the 58 million dollar Sheriff’s department budget if Parkinson is elected.


Please…..find something else to complain about. Maybe they should ride ponies and have rubberband guns to save money you jackasses.


Can you disagree without being disagreeable?



Spending $1 million on a firetruck and then $32,000 per police car is a significant expenditure. The Ford’s were much cheaper to purchase and less expensive to operate. The officers and fire fighters need vehicles to respond to calls for service but a more utilitarian approach should have been taken. As long as Ford contines the Vic, it was a smarter choice. The firetruck with all of its chrome and accessories was unnecessary and a basic model would have served the same purpose. A fancy police car doesn’t make me any safer but a reliable one certainly will.


Yes it is expensive and your city council approved it. Saveslocounty….it’s funny that you are such an expert on everything….you should run for mayor.


At least I have an informed opinion slojo and can share it in our free country. On the other hand, you merely attack everything and fail to offer a reason or an alternative. In case you haven’t heard, we are facing a financial melt down that threatens our safety and services. If the city can’t provide solutions to unnecessary spending, then we are doomed. I would like to see more cops on the streets by using cheaper vehicles. Simple economics. Same for the firetruck, cheaper truck…more firefighters.


Those Dodges were purchased on the basis of better “safety.” Utter sewage! Just like the crap about the paint jobs. SLOPD claimed the former paint jobs were instituted when the AC in the old cruisers could not keep the inside of the cars cold enough. Why do they lie like that? Do they think we’re stupid? Odd how the Sheriff kept the black/white motif all these years.

Those Dodges and their paint jobs OFFEND me.


The price of having cool trendy police cars at tax payers expense appears of little concern to the United States of San Luis Obispo. Linden and Parkinson are doing their part to mismanage us into bankruptcy.


Have you watched just how hard they drive those damned things around SLO? They need to slow down — Frank’s isn’t running out of burgers. Just like their cutsey paint-jobs, those cars are offensive.