West Kelowna’s oldest cop car has taken its last ride.
In August, the West Kelowna RCMP retired the last in-service Crown Vic in the entire Okanagan.
Known in full as the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, the four-door sedan was manufactured from 1992 to 2011 and became the police car of choice from 1997 to 2013, across Canada, the United States and Mexico used them. The RCMP used the Crown Vic for its durability, reliability and safety.
From 1997 to 2013, the West Kelowna, Kelowna, Lake Country and Peachland detachments all used Crown Vics as their primary car for daily patrols.
When Crown Vic production came to an end in September 2011, police and RCMP forces started to phase the vehicle out and use SUVs.
But in West Kelowna, the RCMP kept one running until August as Const. Sherri Lund put the car in park as the last officer to be behind the wheel on active duty.
“I loved driving the last Crown Vic in the Okanagan,” said Lund, a West Kelowna RCMP school resource officer. “My colleagues would always take time to come up and talk to me about their favourite Crown Vic memories, or talk about what a great car it is. Because I had been the primary driver of it here in West Kelowna, and my relationship with the schools, the students all knew it was me behind the wheel so I would often get a wave or a hello.”
Despite the age and wear on the car, Lund believes it could still be in service, even though it went through a few hardships recently.
“The vehicle is still in excellent shape and the engine would roar to life when I touched the gas pedal,” said Lund. “The only problem with it was it couldn’t idle with the air conditioning on and maintain its engine temperature. I remember on a hot day this past June, I had left the vehicle in secure idle mode to keep my computer running and went into a high school for a visit. Minutes later the kids came running into the school office saying ‘Your car is on fire Cst. Lund,’ I ran outside expecting to see flames, but it was just steam from the blown radiator.”
The car stood out because of the wear and tear and many people would recognize it because it stood out.
“I was very proud to drive that car, holding onto it’s legacy and keys,” said Lund.
Now, Lund joins the rest of the force in driving an SUV, yet notes she misses the old car.
“I have to say, they sure don’t have the power and the ability to hug the road like the Crown Vic,” said Lund. “I never had any concern about how fast I took a curve while in that car.”