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Sunnyside police cars take on new look

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Sunnyside Police Officers Darrin Scott (L) and Sam Ramos show off the new Sunnyside police cars. The department went with a black and white look after requests for something different from officers in the department.

In case you haven't noticed, there's a new black and white look on the streets of Sunnyside.

The Sunnyside Police Department is changing over from the standard white Crown Victoria patrol cars to snazzy, new 2005 Crown Victorias with a black and white paint job.

Sunnyside Police Department Sergeant Kent Coffman, who came up with the paint scheme, said that it was time to get new cars and the officers requested a different look.

Based on the Los Angeles Police Department paint jobs, which have four white doors, the Sunnyside police cars are slightly different. The back doors are painted black.

"That's what makes our cars different from other departments," said Coffman. "There's not that many department that have this paint scheme. I like them. I think it's more professional looking."

He said that as the first car took to the streets, people didn't know which department was behind the wheel.

Sunnyside Police Officer Darrin Scott came up with the logo that helps identify the car as the Sunnyside Police Department's.

"Sunnyside" is prominently displayed on the side of the vehicle with a picture of the department's shield below it.

The first of the vehicles arrived New Year's Eve and was purchased with last year's funds, according to Coffman.

Since then, three additional cars, two black and whites and an unmarked white sergeant's car, have arrived. In two weeks another black and white vehicle and a vehicle for the detective sergeant will arrive, said Coffman.

The five most recent new cars are part of a lease agreement the Sunnyside Police Department has with a company that provides law enforcement agencies with vehicles. Part of the lease money is coming from the law and justice tax voters approved last fall.

"The old cars were costing us more to maintain per year than it costs to lease the new cars," said Coffman.

Most of the vehicles that are now being removed from the fleet are 1998-99 models with at least 120,000 miles on them.

"The cars are run 24 hours a day and it is hard on them," said Coffman.

The Sunnyside Police Department isn't the only agency to look at lease options. Many police departments are looking at lease options because at the end of the lease it is much easier to get rid of cars than it is when the cars have to be sold off by the departments, said Coffman.

The new cars are also equipped with new radios and computers and have upgraded lights.

"We got rid of all the old halogen roll lights," said Coffman.

The new light bars are equipped with LED lights and strobes, which use a lot less battery power. Also added to the new cars are bars in the back seat side windows, which will keep suspects from kicking out the windows.

"They can try, but they'll probably break a foot," said Coffman.

Last year, a number of patrol car windows were broken out by suspects upset about their arrest.

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