New Canaan's Town Council unanimously voted to approve a special appropriation of $70,395 for three new Crown Victorias for the police department.

"This makes sense from a fiscal standpoint and a needs standpoint," council member Thomas O'Dea Jr. said. "This is not a luxury item."

Starting March 1, Ford will stop producing the Crown Victoria, the standard for all police vehicles. The automobile manufacturer is slated to begin production of the Police Interceptor but, according to Bill Oestmann, fleet manager, the vehicles won't be ready until summer 2012 in a best case scenario. That would mean an 18-month window where the department could not purchase new cars even if absolutely necessary.

With the approval from all three town bodies, the department can now orders the vehicles.

"We are likely to order them by the end of the week," Chief Ed Nadriczny said.

Nadriczny also said the new interceptors would cost at least $4,500 more than the Crown Victorias.

Town Council members agreed the cars were necessary now rather than later due to the timing, and the fact that not much is yet known about the Interceptors.

"The first year of a completely new model tends to have issues," Oestmann said to the Board of Selectmen a few weeks ago. "Also these new Interceptors are so sophisticated that we would likely have a lot of problems new equipment. Most municipalities in the area order Crown Victorias."

Oestmann said by purchasing Crown Victorias now, the department will have time to understand and gauge the performance of the new Interceptors based on other towns' experiences

Another downside to waiting for the interceptors is that they would have to buy brand new equipment to place inside, Oestmann said. Right now, the equipment from the old Crown Victorias can directly transfer into the new Crown Victorias.

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Town Council Chairman Mark DeWaele echoed those thoughts and commented on the condition of the current fleet as well.

"I visited the station recently," DeWaele said. "It is really in great need of upgrading and updating."

Nadriczny told the New Canaan News the purchase order is currently in the works to give them a cushion for the March 1 deadline. He also indicated the new cars are expected to arrive sometime in the fall around October but nothing is set in stone in terms of an arrival date.