Police dept. buying 6 new patrol cars

FLINT TWP. — Six new Chevrolet Tahoe police cars soon will be patrolling township streets.

The township board at its Monday meeting approved a $198,336 budgeted expense to buy the vehicles through a governmental bid process.

The fully-marked SUVs will have four-wheel drive.

The Chevy Tahoe four-wheel-drive Police Package is “pursuit rated” for the first time in the 2015 model year, said Police Chief George Sippert. In past years, only the two-wheel-drive Tahoe was pursuit rated. That means the vehicle has been tested and is suitable for police work. Harsh winter driving conditions and deteriorating roads have also shown that four-wheel drive vehicles out-perform two-wheel drive, he said.

The Tahoes will replace four Ford Crown Victoria sedans in the police fleet that are being retired from service due to high mileage and maintenance costs.

Chief Sippert said he normally budgets for four new vehicles purchases a year due in part to reduced staff size in recent years. But the department is in the process of adding more officers, as a result of the recently passed Public Safety Millage.

Priced individually at $33,056 each, the Tahoes are a bit more expensive but have a better resale value, Chief Sippert said. When taken out of service, the Tahoes should sell for $7-$10,000 compared to the $2-4,000 received for the Crown Vics.

The Crown Vics will be sold via an online auction. Proceeds go back into the township’s general fund, not the police department, he said.

The Tahoes will be purchased from Berger Chevrolet in Grand Rapids.

Trustee Frank Kasle asked about the possibility of giving local car dealerships an opportunity to bid on police car purchases.

Chief Sippert said the vehicles were ordered through Oakland County’s Bid Process collectively with other participating counties to get a better rate.

The manufacturer selects which dealerships to purchase from, he said.

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