Joe P. Asher
The city of Harlan will soon have three new police cruisers.
During a meeting of the Harlan City Council on Monday, Police Chief Mike Thomas asked the council to approve funding for the new vehicles as a result of various concerns with the department’s fleet which has substantial wear and tear over the past 11 years.
Thomas informed the council his department’s cruisers are in need of replacement.
“I have three 2001 cruisers,” said Thomas. “One’s got 185,000 miles, one’s got 175,000, all three cars are knocking on 200,000.”
Thomas advised that repair bills on the current cruisers are becoming an issue.
“In the past 20 months or so we have spent about $12,000 on those cars to keep them on the road,” said Thomas. “That figure is sort of skewed a little bit because we have some other cars down there that are out of service that we’ve taken parts off of to keep these three running. One car is down now with a fuel system out. That system is going to need replaced. Another car’s transmission is slipping and is going to need rebuilt. That’s another $1,600 to rebuild the transmission.”
Thomas said the city’s old cruisers are all Ford Crown Victoria model cars, but that model is no longer in production.
“The new car Ford replaced it with is the Taurus,” said Thomas. “I’ve talked with a dealer who has the state contract on those and he has priced me three cruisers — totally equipped and ready to roll when they get here — the total figure on it is $90,000 and some change.”
“What about the Dodge?” asked council member Croley Forester.
“You don’t want the Dodge,” replied Thomas. “They’re junk.”
“Well, a lot of police agencies use them,” said Forester. “I’m just wondering what the cost difference is.”
Thomas noted that he had checked the cost of Dodge cruisers as well.
“There’s a big cost difference. I’ve priced both. As far as maintenance and dependability, Dodge’s have bad transmissions, they have bad brake systems, and everybody I’ve talked to that owns a Dodge says they’re junk,” said Thomas. “With a state contract, a lease payment (on the Taurus) would be $19,000 and some change per year.”
According to Thomas, the Ford Taurus is the most cost effective option.
The council approved a motion by Forester designating money in the budget for the lease of three new Ford Taurus police cruisers.
Thomas noted the cruisers should arrive in about 60 days.
In other council activity:
* Approved second reading of the property tax rate for the city of Harlan;
* Designated Halloween hours in the city for 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 31.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or firstname.lastname@example.org