DPD responds to criticism about raising vehicles' hoods at crime scenes

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DANVILLE (WSLS 10) - As of Monday, the hoods on the Danville Police Department's vehicles will remain closed while the vehicles are sitting at crime scenes.

Over the past couple of months, the department has been dealing with engine overheating issues because of the hot temperatures while the cars sit at crime scenes for long periods of time.

So, the department started popping the hoods on the vehicles in an effort to cool off the engines but citizens have become concerned that the popped up hoods block the in-car camera.

"I'm just glad that the change happened," said Shakeva Frazier, a community activist in Danville.

In all caps and with numerous exclamation points, Shakeva Frazier took to her Facebook page Monday to express her relief after a picture she posted over the weekend of some police vehicles at a recent crime scene with the hoods up went viral.

"I know there's always going to be some loop holes and things to get over, but that was a major hindrance to me. So, yeah, it gives me a little peace of mind," Frazier said.

The police department said there was never any intention to block the in-car cameras despite what, according to social media, thousands of people seem to believe

"That's not accurate. That's not something we do. That's not something we've ever done," Danville Police Department Lt. Mike Wallace emphasized.

One mechanic WSLS 10 spoke to Tuesday said popping the hoods to cool the vehicles does not work because it affects the amount of air the radiator can pull in to cool the engine.

Another mechanic said it does work because it allows the engine heat to escape.

"It was an issue with citizens here in the city. We recognized that and we said 'you know what, we're not going to do that anymore,'' continued Wallace.

WSLS also spoke to the Martinsville Police Department about the issue for perspective.

The department said it hasn't had any problems and popping hoods to cool the vehicles is not something law enforcement agencies have done before, but this situation has been a learning experience.

"When it first popped up, it just spoke to the fact that, once again, we need to improve communications with out community," Martinsville Police Department Capt. Robert Fincher pointed out.

Frazier hopes that will be the case in Danville.

"If you have things in place like that that you're going to do, police department, let us know about it," Frazier stressed.

As of Tuesday, the overheating issues had cost the police department roughly $16,000 in parts that had to be replaced after they melted due to the heat from the engine.

The department is in the process of installing louvers on the hoods of all of the vehicles to increase ventilation to the engine and is changing the coolant used in the vehicles.

When asked what the department would do next summer if problems continued, Walllace said the department is taking a wait and see approach.

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