Ring­gold Po­lice Depart­ment look­ing to pur­chase new ve­hi­cle

The Catoosa County News - - COMMENTARY - By Adam Cook

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)

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