The Crown Vic’s final ride in the Okanagan
2023-09-29 14:41 PDT
It was the end of an era in August as the West Kelowna RCMP said good-bye and farewell to a loyal friend and partner when their final Crown Vic in the Okanagan took its last ride.
For several years prior to that somber August day, one of the most distinguished symbols of the RCMP in the Okanagan was the Ford Crown Victoria, or Crown
Vic police car.
Officially known as the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, the four-door sedan was manufactured from 1992-2011 and became the police car of choice from 1997-2013. It was widely used by police forces across Canada, in the United States and in Mexico, with the RCMP being no exception. At the time, they were a good fit for the RCMP for their durability, reliability and safety.
Closer to home during that time, the West Kelowna, Lake Country, Peachland and Kelowna RCMP detachments used the Crown Vic as the primary vehicle that officers drove for their daily duties and patrols. Due to weather conditions, the SUV was in the mix, but the Crown Vic ruled the fleet.
In September of 2011 production of the Crown Vic ended when the last one rolled off the assembly line. Police forces around North America now needed to phase them out and began looking at SUV options which most officers drive today.
That said, up until recently the West Kelowna RCMP still had a, now very rare, Crown Vic in service and it was driven by Constable Sherri Lund as the last one across the Okanagan Valley in active duty. However, as of the end of August the Crown Vic has been retired from police work ending an incredible era.
I loved driving the last Crown Vic in the Okanagan, says Lund, a West Kelowna RCMP school resource officer.
My colleagues would always take time to come up and talk to me about their favorite 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 its age and hours on the road, Lund says it could still be active today,
The vehicle is still in excellent shape and the engine would roar to life when I touched the gas pedal. 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.
Interestingly, Cst. Lund had been the primary driver of her Crown Vic since it arrived in West Kelowna. The vehicle was designated for the school resource officer position, so it hasn’t had the same wear and tear other police vehicles are accustom to, nor has it had several drivers.
I was very proud to drive that car, holding onto it’s legacy...and keys!
Now that the Crown Vic has been officially retired from duty, Cst. Lund has had to drive something else, but it just doesn’t seem the same.
I’m now mainly driving an SUV, the Ford Explorer, and I have to say, they sure don’t have the power and the ability to hug the road like the Crown Vic. I never had any concern about how fast I took a curve while in that car.
For 11 years Cst. Lund drove the same Crown Vic and has plenty of stories to tell,
It was a strange feeling driving it for the final time. It is the vehicle I have used throughout my career as a school resource officer and the kids are familiar with it, I feel like its part of my identity. There was definitely some sadness when I finally had to say goodbye.
The significance of the Crown Vic to a police officer is one most people won’t understand. To most outside a police force, it just looks like an old car, but truly it’s a part of RCMP lore and will not be soon forgotten.
Cpl. Michael GauthierMedia Relations Unit Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge
1190 Richter Street Kelowna BC V1Y 2K7
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