FLINT TWP. — The Township Police Department needs to buy four new police cars this year to replace some of its aging fleet.
But Ford Motor Co. no longer makes the Crown Victoria model which has served as the “workhorse’’ police car for the department for 14 years.
Luckily, one farsighted Ford dealership stockpiled a few of the discontinued patrol cars in anticipation they would be needed by departments on a budget, making it possible for Flint Township to save a bundle on four new vehicles still under warranty.
Police Chief George Sippert said the cost of the four new police cars is included in the 2012 budget. The 2011 Crown Vics are available for $22,045 each, including customizing them for police work, which is about $4000 to $6000 cheaper per car than any newer models being considered.
Sippert’s cost-saving proposal to buy the four cars for $88,180 from Gorno Ford in Woodhaven got the green light from the township board of trustees Monday night, even winning over George Menoutes who had previously told Sippert he would not approve the purchase of any more Crown Victorias.
“I am going to support this because of the price but next time tell (Lt. Tim) Jones to chase around for some Chevys,’‘ Menoutes said.
Sippert said buying the 2011 Crown Vics will save the department additional costs of outfitting a different model. The Crown Vics are identical to those in the current fleet. The department’s practice has been to transfer equipment from older cars to newer ones including prison cages and seats, radio mounts, computer stands, siren speakers and light bar brackets. This equipment would not fit another model vehicle and add $4,500 more to the base costs.
Sippert said but now with the Crown Vics off the market, the department will not have a choice next year with its replacement vehicle purchase.
He also said the department has purchased several Dodge Chargers in the past five years on a trial basis. Also Ford is offering the Sedan Inceptor and Utility Interceptor models as a patrol car replacement for the Crown Vic.
Other cars being considered were the 2012 Chevrolet Caprice or Chevrolet Tahoe, each costing $26,460 per unit, the 2013 Ford Sedan Interceptor at $26,137 per unit and the Dodge Charger at $23,843 per unit.
The board’s unanimous approval of the Crown Vics purchase loosened the purse strings a bit. Last month, they voted not to buy a new $700,000 ladder truck for the fire department saying it was too expensive under current economic circumstances. Board members suggested the fire department search for a cheaper, used vehicle.