Police Looking to Speed Up Vehicle Purchase Schedule

SANDOWN – Because of a quickly aging vehicle fleet the police department will be looking to accelerate their vehicle purchasing schedule this year and next, according to police chief Joe Gordon.
In previous years the department has purchased a new vehicle every other year.

At their Sept. 9 meeting Gordon met with the selectmen to alert them to the necessity of additional cruiser money in the coming year’s budget request. Gordon conceded it was a difficult situation, but that deteriorating vehicle condition has forced his hand.
“Our fleet is getting into rough shape,” said Gordon, explaining that two of the department’s cruisers are nearing 120,000 miles and the department’s all purpose four wheeled drive vehicle, a Ford Explorer, is rotting away and has persistent drive train issues.
The cruiser Gordon uses is a 2006, has high mileage and is beginning to show the body wear that comes from traversing through New England winters.
The department is anticipating purchasing one vehicle at the end of this year and including the full cost of another in the coming year’s budget.
A fund where all money from details is directed has been the tool by which the department has been looking to fund new vehicles, but it just doesn’t contain enough money right now, explained the police chief.
The fund has a little over $17,000 as of August, but a new all purpose vehicle costs $31,000 for the vehicle alone and a new sedan costs $26,000 to $27,000. In addition the department will have to replace much of the equipment that is not transferable from the discontinued Ford Crown Victoria that the department has long utilized.
Department’s across the country have been struggling with the increased cost of obtaining new cruisers as they shift to new brands and models after the Crown Victoria was discontinued.
Gordon explained that this year he will be looking to use the monies in the detail fund, potentially combined with the monies from a fund connected with Off Highway Vehicle Recreational Vehicle (OHRV) enforcement to obtain a vehicle this year within the confines of the budget.
According to Gordon, there’s about $10,000 in the OHRV fund.
Likely the department’s budget request will also see a notable up-tick in the vehicle line.
“I’m just telling you up front that this is a problem for the department,” said Gordon.
The department is looking to purchase a replacement for the Explorer this year, and that vehicle will be put on more of a front line status for the time being. Typically that all purpose vehicle has been used heavily during the winter months and much less frequently during the rest of the year.
The department’s most recently purchased cruiser already has $50,000 miles on it, Gordon added. That mileage will likely tick past 100,000 next year, said the chief.

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