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Last of Crown Victoria police cars reaches end of the road with North Van RCMP

The Ford-manufactured vehicle was once the police car of choice for law enforcement agencies throughout North America. It has since been replaced by a Ford Explorer SUV.
The North Vancouver RCMP said goodbye to the detachment's last Crown Victoria recently. | Paul McGrath / North Shore News files

Bring on the salute with flashing lights and sirens.

Officers with the North Vancouver RCMP said goodbye to a trusted partner recently as the last Crown Vic in use by the detachment rolled off into the sunset.

Up until 10 years ago, the Crown Victoria police car was one of the most recognizable police “squad” cars, in use by police forces throughout North America – including the local RCMP.

Manufactured by Ford, the solidly built police vehicle was made from 1992 to 2011 and was usually the police car featured in movies involving police car chases.

A reliable car, the Crown Victoria had a powerful engine, very solid construction, and lots of trunk space.

At one point in time, almost all the local detachment police cars were Crown Victorias, and the classic silhouette illustrated more than a few North Shore News crime stories.

After Ford stopped making the Crown Vic in 2011, they were still in service at many police departments. Gradually, however, the old cars were replaced with the more modern police car choice – a law enforcement version of the Ford Explorer SUV.

Compared to the Crown Victoria, today’s Ford Explorer police car is a better vehicle, said Const. Mansoor Sahak, spokesperson for the North Vancouver detachment. The all-wheel drive vehicles handle better and are more fuel efficient, he said.

There are 74 vehicles in the RCMP’s fleet at the North Vancouver detachment, including two motorcycles. The fleet includes five hybrids and one fully electric vehicle. A handful of older Crown Victorias were also part of that fleet until recently, when the last of the detachment’s Crown Vics reached the end of the road – usually defined as either 10 years of service or 180,000 kilometres.

New police vehicles first arrive at the RCMP’s garage in Chilliwack where they’re stored and outfitted with any special requested modifications, said Sahak, before delivery to local detachments.

In the past, many decommissioned police cars were stripped of their law-enforcement extras and sold to the public, where they proved popular with taxi companies and anyone seeking a cheap, reliable car. Crown Victorias are still owned by private collectors and can still be found for sale across the country.

But the practice of selling decommissioned police cars to the public came under greater scrutiny and was put on hold after a man disguised as a Mountie fatally shot 22 people in Nova Scotia during a 13-hour rampage in April 2020. For most of that time, he was driving a decommissioned police car that he had modified to look exactly like a marked cruiser, complete with an emergency light bar and reflective decals.

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