Ringgold Police Department looking to purchase new vehicle
The Ringgold Police Department is looking to buy a replacement vehicle after one of its patrol cars was totaled back in April.
During a May 22 work session, Assistant Police Chief Chad Cardin asked for and was granted permission to use about $20,000 of police funds to buy a replacement vehicle to add to the police fleet.
“One of our police cars was involved in a collision back in April, and it was deemed a total loss, so we received an insurance check for $4,331,” Cardin said. “We started going over funds, and we have that insurance money, private donations, some asset forfeitures left over, some technology fees. ... We have about $20,000. We have funds to pay for a vehicle. ... It’ll be a capital expenditure to get a replacement vehicle, but we do need to replace a vehicle. We always want to replace a car with something better.”
Council member Larry Black, a former long-time police officer, proposed considering spending a little more money to getting a brand new vehicle.
“Should we consider buying new due to our fleet continuing to age?” Black asked. “You don’t want all your police cars to become old at the same time. You want to constantly replace as the years go by so that in five or six years, you replace your oldest one and keep stairstepping like that so you have a late model fleet and a safe vehicle for your officers to ride and pursue in. I always think we should buy new, because you know what you’re getting when you buy new.”
Cardin said a new Dodge Charger would cost in the neighborhood of $24,000, plus an addition $15,000 or so to get outfitted with the proper equipment and paint.
Cardin added that the silver lining in the current scenario is that the department has the equipment remaining from the vehicle that was totaled, which would offset some costs.
“When we striped the wrecked vehicle, we have a light bar, a brand new 4500 Motorola (radio system), and a brand new camera system,” Cardin said. “Right now, we’re just looking for something reliable and affordable with our budget.”
Councilwoman Sara Clark recommended looking at the current police budget to see if purchasing a new vehicle would be possible by adding addition funds to the approximately $20,000 the department already has on hand.
“I think that’s a discussion for the budget for next year though,” Clark said. “I think immediately, we have $20,000 to put forth for a vehicle if you can find one. If you come back and say there’s nothing out there then we’ll have to make other decisions.”
Ultimately, the council approved allowing the department spending up to $20,000 on a replacement vehicle if the opportunity presents itself before the next meeting. In the mean time, the council agreed to look at the budget to evaluate whether additional funding could be paired with the existing $20,000 to possibly buy a new vehicle instead of a used one.
Chief Dan Bilbrey says the department is currently using a spare vehicle, a 2001 Ford Crown Victoria, which is the oldest car in the fleet and the last remaining holdover from when Chief Charles Land was in charge.
“It’s the last of the Mohicans,” Bilbrey said. “It’s 16 years old, and is the last one we have with the old Ringgold Police Department paint scheme.”
The Ringgold Police Department is retiring its oldest police cruiser, a 2001 Ford Crown Victoria, which is the last with the agency’s old paint scheme. (Catoosa News photo/Adam Cook)