GPD rolling out new, white units, different from their fleet color

0
1600

Greenfield Police Department is getting some new cars. Unfortunately, some of them are the wrong color, but finding police cars is quite the task, GPD officials say.

Tom Russo | Daily Reporter

GREENFIELD — For many years, the official color of Greenfield Police Department vehicles has been black. However, due to ordering issues, officials with GPD are in the process of rolling out six new, white-colored units.

Thanks to those ordering problems, which have caused a shortage of police cars nationwide, the GPD, which didn’t get any new cars in 2022, will have a total of 11 new vehicles this year. Five of them will be black, the normal color in their fleet, while six new Dodge Durango units will be white.

“The last couple of years, (due to COVID) it’s been an outright struggle to get any kind of new cars,” GPD Deputy Chief, Chuck McMichael said.

McMichael explained the department has a five-year rotation of getting officers a new vehicle, so they purchase anywhere from five to eight new units each year, depending on the costs and need.

“It will always depend on how old the cars are as to if we replace them,” McMichael said.

Last year, GPD officials ordered several Dodge Durango SUV black units but, due to supply issues, the manufacturer had to cancel the full order.

That prompted GPD officials to change their plans and order black Ford Explorers. Unfortunately, out of the five new black Ford Explorers ordered for 2022, only one was delivered with the remaining four getting canceled for the same reason as their previous order — lack of supplies.

“They came back a little while later and told us we could reorder everything, but it would be $11,000 more per vehicle,” McMichael said.

The law enforcement ordering window is a small one, McMichael explained, so they quickly did some research and decided the best thing to do was to order those Ford Explorers to be sure they could get some new vehicles despite the price increase.

“A couple of weeks later, we got a call from a supplier, and they noted they had six Dodge Durango police pursuit vehicles that another department had ordered but no longer needed,” McMichael said. “We ended up buying those as well.”

That means the GPD will have 11 new vehicles for 2023, which will make up for what they did not get in 2022.

“We’re already looking into where we can get cars in 2024 because those ordering windows are so small,” McMichael said.

While law enforcement departments do get a break on vehicle prices via state bids from the manufacturers, many manufacturers are opting not to produce police vehicles in the future.

“Chevy only did 10,000 or 12,000 police cars this year, and their ordering window was only open like a week,” McMichael said.

McMichael noted the six Dodge Durango vehicles they picked up from that order another department didn’t need are white, different from the GPD’s traditional black fleet. They will stay that way, so the community will see both black and white GPD vehicles.

“We do intend to stick with the black as our color and all of the other cars. The Fords we having coming in are black,” McMichael said.

The cost per police vehicle does vary and, by the time officials have the new units marked and lights added along with other safety gear, each new vehicle will cost an estimated $50,000.

“The cars we’re getting are around $40,000 per car, and we spend another $10,000 on lights, computers and everything else that has to come with them for them to be police cars,” McMichael said.

Three of the six white Dodge Durango units are already on the roads with the others expected to be finished and road ready in the next few days and weeks.

Officials from the GPD noted the best ways to avoid seeing any of the old or new GPD cars up close and personal with red and blue lights in your rear view mirrors is to follow the law and always wear your seat belt, watch your speed, use your phone hands-free device and never drive impaired.