TYRONZA, Ark. — Car trouble is keeping some Arkansas police officers from protecting and Serving the people in their communities.
Several towns are reportedly having engine trouble with their Dodge Charger police cruisers.
The Poinsett County town of Tyronza was recently left without any patrol cars after oil leaks and blown engines sidelined their cruisers.
Not having officers routinely patrolling neighborhoods left the Mayor, the Police Chief and some citizens feeling unprotected.
“Well, if I needed help I’d expect them to come. And they wouldn’t be able to do it without a police car,” said Gay Cline.
Cline lives in Tyronza and hopes the police department gets its vehicle problems straightened out.
“It worries me cause there’s been a lot of people around here breakin’ into houses,” said Cline.
For Tyronza Police Chief Tony Turner, a perfectly running patrol car is as important as his side arm, “We went through a period where we did not even have a police car here in town. Both of our cars was broke down at the same time and was in the shop.”
Right now Chief Turner has a 2011 Dodge Charger to patrol town after having two engines in it replaced.
The department’s 2008 Charger? It blew an engine about the same time Tyronza paid it off.
Mayor Marion Bearden said at one point the Poinsett County town of 700 didn’t have a patrol car on its streets.
“We had no way to take care of our town. Totally unexpected on the 2011. It had less than, 30,000, around 37,000miles. So, it was fortunately under warranty,” said Mayor Bearden.
The Mayor said the oil was changed every 3,000 miles.
Chrysler’s maintenance handbook however recommends the oil in Dodge Charger police units be changed every 350-hours of engine run time.
That’s something Mayor Bearden said was never fully explained when the town received the cars, “If that’s the case, why are you not explaining that to the cities when we purchase the cars and tell us that.”
Mayor Bearden said there have been at least four other Arkansas police departments near Tyronza that have reported blown engines in their Dodge Chargers.
Bearden said the other departments are in Parkin, Marked Tree and Bay, “The sad thing about it, the Dodge Chargers are on the Arkansas state contract. Which means that if a police department is looking for a car, they go to that contract list thinking they’re going to get a good deal on it. And if there’s a problem with the Chargers, they need to step forward and say, ‘we do have a problem, they need to be taken off the State contract list until at least until we can figure out what’s happened.’ And try to help some of these small towns.”
She said it will take more than $6,000 to get the town’s 2008 Charger back on the street.
Meantime, Chief Turner just wants to be able to protect and serve Tyronza’s citizens with confidence, “I shouldn’t have to be listening, have one ear listening to the engine making sure it’s operating properly, with the other ear focusing what I’m trying to do on my daily task.”
We tried to get a response from Dodge-Chrysler on blown engines in Chargers, but have not heard back.