Traveling to communities around the county doing investigations and processing evidence at the Indiana State Police Laboratory, the Brownstown Police Department’s detective racks up a lot of mileage on his vehicle.
The town purchased the Chevrolet Tahoe in 2010, and it now has a little more than 90,000 miles on it and is the department’s oldest vehicle.
Chief Tom Hanner said Phil Owens, a town employee who does maintenance on the town’s vehicles, told him it’s time to get a different one.
Hanner found a 2016 Chevrolet Traverse with 33,000 miles on it at Bob Poynter GM in Seymour. The dealership will give the town $9,000 for the trade-in, leaving a payment of $10,849. It still has 5,000 miles remaining of bumper to bumper and a powertrain warranty up to 50,000 miles.
Since the money is in the police department’s budget and the vehicle is needed, the Brownstown Town Council recently unanimously approved the trade-in.
“It’s hard to swallow sometimes, but in law enforcement, the life of a vehicle is not as much,” Hanner said. “Just from my experience at the county, we got three years. Patrolmen, you got three years on a car, and that was it. Here, we’ve tried to push to six.”
Knowing major problems likely would be coming with the Tahoe and the detective will be using it more, Hanner thought it was time to look for a new vehicle.
“What a department typically does with a detective, he helps us out tremendously on following up on old investigations and new ones as they are coming in. That’s just something I foresee we can’t do away with that position,” he said. “We tried to find something that would work and still try to look at fuel mileage, as well, and the longevity of the vehicle.”
Council President Sally Lawson asked Hanner if it mattered that the Traverse is not pursuit rated. He said the Tahoe isn’t, either.
“It should have never been in pursuits, but it has been in numerous pursuits,” he said of the Tahoe.
The detective is a plainclothes officer in an unmarked vehicle, so he can’t initiate a traffic stop, according to state law, Hanner said.
“If we’re going to have to use him to work the road, if he has to come in and help out, he will have to switch out with another guy and get a fully marked car,” he said. “Three officers live in Brownstown. He can park it and drive theirs.”
Hanner said the equipment in the Tahoe will be moved to the Traverse, so no additional equipment purchases will be necessary.