BELDING — In the words of Belding Police Chief Dale Nelson, “It’s time to put a new car in the fleet.”
At Tuesday night’s Belding City Council meeting at the Pere Marquette Depot, Nelson got his wish as council members voted 5-0 to purchase a new police cruiser to be used by the Belding Police Department.
At a cost of $20,474.71, which will come from the city’s motor pool account in the 2012-2013 budget, a Chevrolet Impala will be purchased from Berger Chevrolet in Grand Rapids. An additional $4,708 will be spent on equipment changeover, as well as new equipment for the car, totaling $25,182.71.
“It’s going to be a welcome addition to the fleet,” Nelson said. “The good thing about it is we can rely on the Chevy Impala to be a reliable car for us, as it has been since 2002 when we started switching over to the Impala. The equipment upgrades are much needed and my staff is looking forward to being able to put those items and the new car in service in July of this year.”
According to Nelson, the total mileage accumulated by the fleet’s five cars was the primary reason for requesting a purchase for a new car.
“The police department vehicle fleet is becoming aged and is high in total mileage with a fleet average of 130,568 (miles),” Nelson said. “The majority of the cars, with the exception of our 2010 model, have 100,000 plus miles on them. This does represent a very high milage for police service.”
Belding Mayor Ron Gunderson said he understood the importance of a new police cruiser to the department and that the department’s analysis of the current fleet helped in his decision to approve the purchase.
“I think the police department is looking at this properly as far as factoring in the maintenance records and not just the year of the cars in the current fleet,” Gunderson said. “They’ve maintained the cars and kept them all equipped with the same equipment, the department’s report was thorough in showing that a new car should be added to the fleet.”
Nelson said the decision on which current car to replace in the fleet is “still up for debate.”
“The oldest car in the fleet, the 2002 model, is not used in frontline service and has the fewest miles of the older cars,” he said. “In comparison, our 2004 model has 30,000 more miles on it. We will analyze each car carefully before selecting which one will be replaced in the fleet.”
Nelson said the additional $4,708 in equipment costs and changeover will include items such as a replacement LED light bar, a prisoner partition and a radio console.
“Some new equipment will have to be purchased because of change in body style and technical and safety advances,” he said. “The prisoner screen must be replaced to accommodate the curtain airbags on the side windows. The overhead emergency lights will be changed to move to LED technology that will provide additional officer safety.”