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Highway Patrol To Add Four-Wheel-Drive Vehicles To Fleet

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RALEIGH — State troopers say recent natural disasters proved that two-wheel-drive vehicles could not get them where they needed to go, but there is now a new change in the fleet. Along with Dodge Durangos, the patrol has also added four-wheel-drive Jeep Cherokees.

In January 2000, many troopers could not even get out of their driveways. In September 1999, Hurricane Floyd was another frustrating case that proved two-wheel drive just was not enough.

"We did not have any equipment or any tools to get us into the areas where we were needed," says Sgt. Wade Bulloch. "We were having to borrow vehicles from the National Guard and having to do to different places and try to borrow stuff just so we could respond in a timely manner."

The four-wheelers are part of a big shift for the Highway Patrol. Earlier in July, state troopers also purchased new Camaros, but some taxpayers have already questioned the addition of muscle cars and four-wheelers to the force.

"I think the public wants us to be able to respond when there is a natural disaster," Bulloch says. "I would hope, you know, that when something happens, you want us there. Well, we have got to have the tools to get us there, and that's why we've got stuff like this."

The Highway Patrol bought 45 Jeep Cherokees at $21,000 a piece. They also bought 11 Dodge Durangos at $25,000 each. The new four-wheelers will now be spread out statewide.


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