Deputy Chief Mike Heath said statistics show that something needs to be done. There has been a 15.8% increase in accidents on Oklahoma City roads in the last seven years, and traffic fatalities have increased from 74 in 1995 to 95 in 1996 and 87 in 1997.
Using part of a $600,000-plus federal grant, the department has bought eight police-package Ford Crown Victorias. Instead of a black-and-white paint job with overhead lights, these cars are painted to look like private vehicles: electric blue, brown, bright red. The lights are mounted on the dash and inside the grille. The cars also have an advanced radar system that can measure a vehicle’s speed in front or behind, whether the target is traveling in the same or the opposite direction as the cruiser.