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GPD looks to replace 12 cars

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GREENFIELD — The Greenfield Police Department is bracing to spend more than $350,000 on 12 new vehicles.

Two of the vehicles are replacing those that have been totaled in recent weeks because of weather-related incidents; the other 10 would replace old models to keep the fleet up to date, Chief John Jester said.

“The ones we’re trying to replace, the majority of them are 2007 or older,” Jester told the city’s Board of Works Tuesday. “Most of them have in excess of 100,000 miles on them.”

The board gave Jester approval to move forward with the purchasing process and to take his request to the city council. Jester is hoping to use Local Option Income Tax funds – money set aside specifically for public safety purchases – for the 10 replacement vehicles.

“It’s going to hinge on council approval,” Jester said after the meeting. “Hopefully I will have the LOIT paperwork ready for the next council meeting (Feb. 12).”

There are 43 vehicles in the GPD fleet. Jester said the old Ford Crown Victorias will likely be replaced with seven Chevy Tahoes and three Dodge Chargers.

The Tahoes – sport-utility vehicles – will be used by those who carry extra equipment around, Jester said. The department already has two Tahoes in its fleet.

“We have guys that are dual specialty – divers and SWAT guys that have so much equipment they’re required to carry that they can’t get it into the trunk (of the cars),” Jester said.

Besides, the SUVs have similar gas mileage and will end up costing about the same as new cars, Jester said. The city department can get its hands on some 2013 Chevy Tahoes for about $25,000 each, which is a low state bid, he said.

Mayor Chuck Fewell said the Tahoes and Chargers will have better resale value than the Crown Victorias years down the road. “The last time we sold a Dodge Charger, it brought in over $7,000 at a city auction, and most of the time with the Crown Victorias we’re getting $900 to $2,000 on them,” Jester said.

Jester doesn’t know yet how many of the old police cars will go up for auction this year. Some might be traded within the fleet for older pool cars, extra vehicles the department keeps on hand.

While approval of the 10 new vehicles is still pending based on city council approval of LOIT funds, the department is moving forward with the purchase of two other vehicles to replace those that were lost in weather-related emergencies in recent weeks.

Flooding in late December claimed one Crown Victoria, Jester said. The vehicle was parked along a road that became flooded; the police officer that uses the take-home vehicle was out of town at the time of the event so it did not get moved in time. Jester said that vehicle would have been replaced with the other 10 this year anyway.

A snowstorm earlier this month caused an accident that totaled another Crown Victoria along Interstate 70. Jester joked the car is “a convertible” now because a semi tractor trailer slid into the empty vehicle Jan. 16.

The board gave Jester permission to seek quotes for a 2014 Dodge Charger to replace the flooded vehicle. The board also approved the purchase of a 2013 Chevy Tahoe at $25,224 to replace the vehicle that was destroyed on the snowy interstate.

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