By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
The recent purchase of seven new police vehicles will allow Police Chief Chuck Brooks to rotate out of service any police cruisers that have just about reached the limits of their usefulness.
The seven Ford Explorers will come from Stiver Ford in Montgomery at a cost of $279,000. The city will pay for six; the other will be paid for through a Drug Task Force grant.
Brooks said the purchase will allow him more freedom to temporarily take cars out of the rotation when they need minor repairs or tune-ups.
“We’re slowly building up a good fleet,” Brooks said. “We finally got rid of all our (Dodge) Durangos, so we’ll use the Explorers to replace high-mileage vehicles and those that are just about worn out. We’ll replace them when we’re spending more on them than they’re worth.”
Mayor Jim Staff announced during the June 15 city council meeting that bids were let for the vehicles, but no local dealers submitted one. Brooks said there was a reason for that.
“This year, when we let out the bid, the local Ford dealership (Johnson Ford) was unable to submit a bid because they’ve bought all the inventory they’re allowed until 2023.”
Each of the Explorers will already be outfitted with wiring, lights, sirens and other emergency equipment when they are delivered. All they’ll need is striping, installation of radios, a fact that expedites the entry of the new vehicles into the active fleet.
“That can save up to a month or more,” City Clerk Becca Smith said.
When the new cruisers arrive and are completely outfitted, a series of “hand-me-downs” will occur.
“The new vehicles will go to the senior officers on each shift,” Brooks said. “Those officers will hand theirs down to the next rank, who will hand theirs down to the patrol officers.”
The police chief said this week he expects delivery of the new vehicles “in a week or two.”