City OKs purchase of SUVs

GREENFIELD — City officials have preliminarily approved investing $225,000 in new police vehicles.

Greenfield Police Chief Jeff Rasche asked city officials for the funding to purchase six new SUVs. Three will be used by patrol officers, while the other three will be reserved for the department’s administrators.

The funding comes from the city’s local option income tax fund, which can be spent only on public safety expenses.

Rasche — who became police chief early last year and has been implemented a variety of changes at the department — told the city council he wants to put the department’s roughly 40-vehicle fleet on a six-year replacement rotation, a move that will ensure vehicles are replaced while they still have trade-in value.

A 2011 Chevy Tahoe, for example, will earn the department more than $9,000 toward a new car.

The vehicles — Chevy Tahoes and Traverses — cost between $30,000 and $35,000 each. Another $3,000 to $5,000 is spent installing equipment, such as laptop docks and decals, deputy chief Maj. Matt Holland told the board of works recently.

Over the next six years, the department plans to spend about $250,000 every year purchasing six to seven new cars.

Patrol officers put about 3,000 miles a month — about 36,000 miles a year — on their vehicles, Rasche said.

After six years, the vehicles will have been well-used by the department but will still be worth something to a dealer, he said.

After so many miles, vehicles begin having problems that can be expensive for the city to address, said Mayor Chuck Fewell.

Being able to trade them in before they need more than general maintenance saves tax dollars, he said.

And putting officers in vehicles they’re proud to drive encourages them to take good care of them, making the cars more valuable, officials said.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.