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Fountain Valley police gear up for $100,000 replacement of 29-year-old SWAT truck

Fountain Valley’s current SWAT truck is a modified 1989 Chevrolet pickup that “meets the city’s replacement criteria for age and condition,” police say.
(Courtesy of city of Fountain Valley)

After 25 years of use, the Fountain Valley Police Department is upgrading its SWAT truck to one that can, among other things, pass a smog inspection.

The City Council agreed Tuesday to spend nearly $100,000 to replace the nearly 30-year-old truck the department uses to transport officers and equipment of the West County Special Weapons and Tactics Team, which also includes officers from Cypress, Los Alamitos, Westminster and Seal Beach.

The vehicle to be replaced is a modified Chevrolet pickup, not the armored, tank-like carrier the SWAT team uses in high-risk operations.

Fountain Valley police picked up the 1989 Chevy C/K 3500 in 1993 through asset forfeiture. Its mileage is relatively low — about 56,000 — but mechanical issues have made it so it can’t meet state emissions requirements, said Capt. Matt Sheppard. That has rendered the truck essentially unusable. It “meets the city’s replacement criteria for age and condition,” Sheppard wrote in a memo to the council.


The truck will be disposed of through the city’s auction process.

The planned replacement, a 2019 Ford F-450 with a six-passenger crew cab and dual pairs of rear tires, will be modified to hold gear in a covered bed similar to the city’s public works trucks.

The base model will cost about $42,000, which the city calls a “competitive” price obtained through a contract with the government service cooperative Sourcewell. Outfitting it with a radio system and other emergency vehicle features, plus Police Department graphics, will cost up to an additional $50,000.

The new truck might not roll into Fountain Valley until early next year, Sheppard said. The new-vehicle order from Ford could take up to four months, and it could take two to three more months to outfit it.


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