Visitors can get an up-close view of the Fire Department’s two new fire engines while five of the 10 new police cruisers will be on display in front of both departments during the city’s “Leaping into a New Era” event.
The fire engines were made possible through Measure H funding while the police vehicles were made possible through asset forfeiture funds.
“When you give the officers the equipment to do their jobs in the field, they spend less time in the station and more on patrol,” Calexico Police Lt. Gonzalo Gerardo said.
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The new police cars are Dodge Chargers and are fully-equipped with cutting edge technology such as a voice command system, infrared sensors that can detect people through body heat and brighter LED spotlights.
“It’s got the latest in technology when it comes to the electronics on the vehicle,” Gerrardo said.
The vehicles also have ballistic panels on the doors, and cameras and radar mounted on both the front and back of the vehicles.
Each car cost about $75,000 with all the outfitted gear.
Gerrardo believes the department hadn’t received new units since 2007, and the updated capabilities will allow officers to do a safer, more efficient job.
Officers spend about 80 percent of their time working in vehicles, and two officers will be sharing each of the new units.
Ford has discontinued making Crown Victorias so officers that have been driving that type of vehicle their entire careers are making the adjustment to the faster Charger.
“Everyone seems to like them,” Calexico Officer Carlos Marin said.
Some of the officers have even named their new cars, with one christened “Rocky.”
Calexico Officer Albert Llanas said people have been regularly complimenting the new car as he makes patrols around town.
“They love the new cars. They say, ‘It’s time for a change,’” he said.
Calexico Fire Chief Pete Mercado said the fire engines need about two or three more weeks before they’re fully ready for use. The engines were purchased for $100,000 each.
“It’s allows us to have dependable equipment to get to and from emergency scenes,” he said. “It’s been hard to depend on certain vehicles.”
The department also was approved to receive more than $47,000 in the form of a federal grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security last year and will use the funds to equip the new engines.
The Calexico Fire Department will donate an outdated ambulance to the Mexicali Fire Department at the Wednesday event as well.
“We no longer have a need for it,” Mercado said. “That poor ambulance was beat to the ground, but they say they have mechanics that can work on it.”
If you go
What — “Leaping into a New Era” introduction of new police and fire vehicles
When — 3:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where — 400 block of Fifth Street in front of fire and police departments
Staff Writer Chelcey Adami can be reached at 760-337-3452 or email@example.com