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Chrysler recall on 2011-12 Dodge Chargers has minimum impact on Sunnyside Police Department

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The Sunnyside Police Department's 2011 and 2012 Dodge Charger patrol cars like the one driven by Officer Jason Gilbert are receiving repairs needed as a result of a recall notice. All of the vehicles in the fleet have also had tinting removed from the windows.

Recently Chrysler announced a recall that directly impacts all 2011 and 2012 model Dodge Chargers, which includes Sunnyside's five newest police cruisers.

The problem, according to Mid Valley Chrysler Dodge Jeep's Todd Amaral, is a fuse that can overheat because of wiring that was not properly provided tension.

He said the anti-lock braking system can fail if the fuse malfunctions. However, the brakes will still work.

"The vehicle's brakes can lock up like they did before anti-lock systems became a standard feature in vehicles," said Amaral.

He said the fix is easy and takes approximately one hour service time at no cost to the customer.

"We're working closely with police to get the cars fixed," he said, stating Mid Valley Chrysler Dodge Jeep emphasizes safety.

Dealership owner Brandon Christensen echoed that statement, stating police vehicles receive priority treatment because it is in the interest of public safety that the vehicles are on the road.

Sunnyside Deputy Police Chief Phil Schenck said the police department receives all recall notices in a timely manner.

"Depending on the type of recall, we schedule the vehicles at the nearest dealer as soon as practical," he said.

Amaral said several of Sunnyside's patrol cars have already been fixed this week.

Schenck said Mid Valley Chrysler Dodge Jeep and C. Speck Motors "...have been helpful and provide excellent service to our vehicles."

The Grandview Police Department doesn't have any Chargers in its fleet that have been impacted by the recall notification, but Assistant Police Chief Mark Ware said his department also pays close attention to recalls.

He said the vehicles are typically serviced in a timely fashion and the department has enough vehicles in rotation that "...when one or two go out of service we can absorb the loss for the short repair time."

Schenck said another change in Sunnyside's fleet this week has been the removal of tinting from the windows of the patrol cars.

"I made the decision to remove the tinting from our police car windows," he said, stating the only window on the vehicles from which the tinting could not be removed is the back.

Schenck said the defrost feature in the back windows hindered the effort.

"As part of serving, we want our community to feel that our officers are approachable," he said, stating citizens have made comments indicating the tinting prevented them from having that mindset.

"Our mission is to protect and serve," said Schenck, adding the tinting was removed from all vehicles in the department's fleet as of Tuesday.

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