The Calhoun City Police Department (CPD) approached the Calhoun City Council and Mayor Jimmy Palmer recently vying for why the police department needed a new fleet of patrol cars.
Calhoun Police Chief Garry Moss, during the last city council work session in April, said that the CPD needs new patrol cars due to a bevy of different circumstances, which include cost of gasoline, repairs and an ever decreasing trade in value.
Moss hoped the city council would approve his request for a new fleet of 2012 Dodge Chargers. On Friday, the governing body approved Moss’ request for a new fleet.
Calhoun City Administrator Eddie Peterson said Monday that a new police fleet might be something the council chooses to address sooner, rather than later.
“As we were going through the budget, we were looking at the fleet, and if you remember in the 2011 SPLOST, there is money for a fleet,” said Peterson during the work session. “If you look at the money in the budget that we have for repairs, maintenance, parts and labor, the resale value of the current fleet, and gas mileage, it’s pretty apparent that we might want to buy a new fleet.”
CPD Chief Garry Moss said that the CPD wants to purchase new Dodge Chargers over the 2011 Crown Victoria.
“Ford has made the best patrol car for years, but they have stopped making it,” said Moss Monday. “I’m looking at officer safety, the best buy for the dollar for the taxpayers of Calhoun, and officer comfort because that vehicle is their office for 12 hours a day.”
Moss’ reasoning for replacing the CPD’s current fleet, which are 2006 Ford Crown Vics, is the cost of repairs on patrol cars.
“In 2008 we spent $16,130 for parts on the cars that we have now, which are 2006 models. In 2009-2010 we spent $26,502 and in 2010-2011 $30,813, in 2011-2012, we have to project the last three months, at $32,000; next year we are projecting $47,000 for parts,” said Moss. “The increase rises as the ages of the vehicles go up.”
Moss went on to say that the current fleet is having transmission problems, which is costing taxpayers money. He said that the CPD has to replace one transmission per month, costing $2,195 a piece.
The cost of labor for repairs is also starting to escalate, as the fleet gets older.
“Our labor on the vehicles for the same period of time, 2008-2009, we spent $12,234, in 2009-2010 we spent $21,694 and in 2010-2011, $23,018, and projecting $28,008 for this year; next year we expect $40,000,” said Moss.
He also conducted a test where he took 10 of the current Ford Crown Vics, five from officers who lived a distance away, and the other five who lived in the city limits. After Moss averaged the mileage out, it appeared that the current fleet gets 11.63 miles per gallon. He compared this total to his Dodge Charger, which he admitted does not get driven as much as the patrol cars do, it averaged 17.78 miles per gallon.
With this information, along with the decrease it the value of the fleet, Moss said he feels like now is the time to make a move.
“You have to look at the decrease in the value of cars, with the equipment in them we would get $6,000 per car,” said Moss. “We’d lose $94,500 on our fleet by keeping it another year at resale.”
Moss also researched the trade in value for the current fleet and for the Dodge Charger.
“The trade in value for the 2006 Crown Victoria’s is $4,775 while the retail value is $10,110; that’s in fair condition,” explained Moss. “The trade in value for the Dodge is $8,325 while the retail value is $14,750.”
Moss went on to explain that the 2011 Ford Crown Victoria only comes with a three-year, 36,000-mile warrant while the 2012 Dodge Charger comes with a three-year, 36,000-mile warranty bumper-to-bumper, and a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty on the power train.
Moss wished to buy locally in Gordon County, but since Ford Motor Company no longer makes the Crown Victoria, he has opted to go with Dodge.
“The Sheriff’s Office went with the Ford Crown Victoria’s, which cost it $25,250.40,” said Moss. “For the 2012 Dodge Charger at $22,584.81, which is a difference of $2,665.59 and you’re getting a year newer car and warranty.”
With the purchase of 27 Dodge Chargers, each costing $22,584.81, would bring the total for the fleet to $609,789.87, according to Moss. He said that the CPD would have to get the cars equipped, which would be an additional $177,153; this brings the total to $726,942.87, according to Moss’ calculations.
At this price, each unit will come with: five speed automatic rear wheel drive, all speed traction control, high performance police tires, power door locks, speed control, push to start, keyless entry, inoperable door handles on the back, and plenty more.
“We always try to buy local. I’d rather do business locally,” said Palmer. “We all try to do that, but the numbers do not match.”
After getting the nod from the governing body, Moss ordered the new fleet and the patrol cars will be in Calhoun in seven to eight weeks.