FLINT TWP. — Last year, the police department snagged a deal on the purchase of new patrol vehicles but is looking at a big price increase this year.
At its Tuesday night meeting, the board approved a request from Police Chief George Sippert to buy four new vehicles at a cost of $111,488. The funds are included in the 2013 police department budget.
The purchase includes two 2013 Ford Interceptor police patrol vehicles costing $28,106 each and two 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe police vehicles priced at $27,638 each.
Sippert said the cars are needed to replace four aging Ford Crown Victorias that all have more than 100,000 miles on them. Between the time it takes to buy and get the new vehicles customized with police equipment, it will be summer before the old ones can be retired from service, Sippert said.
Crown Vics have served as the “primary workhorse” vehicle for the township police force for the past 15 years, Sippert said. But Ford discontinued the cars in the 2012 model year and began offering the Sedan Interceptors.
Last year, the department got a deal on four 2011 never-used Crown Vics that a Ford dealer in Woodhaven had stockpiled in anticipation that police departments on a budget would want them. Those four cars cost $88,180 – about $6,000 apiece less than this year’s purchases.
“We really caught a break last year,’’ Sippert said.
He also noted that buying a different model vehicle also incurs the cost of new emergency and safety equipment becaue the old ones will not fit the new ones.
In the past six years, the department has also began purchasing Dodge Chargers on a trial basis.
Supervisor Karyn Miller asked about plans to sell the old vehicles.
Sippert said he would be bringing sale options to the board next month that also apply to the sale of any property the township wants to sell.
In a separate action, the board also gave Sippert approval to use leftover 2009 Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Recovery Act funds to purchase a special service utility vehicle.
The $39,000 in remaining funds was set to expire at the end of the month but Sippert said he had obtained an extension and that the Bureau of Justice Assistance had also approved use of the funds to buy the vehicle.
He recommended the purchase of a 2013 Chevrolet Suburban Commercial police vehicle, costing $38,374
The vehicle will be mainly used for transporting items too large to fit in regular police vehicles.
Sippert named at least two instances in the past year when hauling confiscated evidence was a problem that would have been alleviated by having a larger vehicle. One was a drug house raid and another was a storage facility on Torrey Road.
Sippert said they several patrol cars were tied in the process of transporting many of the seized items and a towing company had to be contracted to move items too large to fit in a police car.
Sippert said the Suburban being purchased is a commercial vehicle and will not require police equipment but will have a radio, some sort of light and markings to identify it as a police vehicle.
It will be driven home by whoever is the on-call investigator in a given week, he said in response to a question from a board member.