Two vehicles in the Brownstown Police Department’s fleet will soon have a new look.
During a meeting Monday night at the town hall, the Brownstown Town Council unanimously approved a two-year lease for two Dodge Ram trucks from Fletcher Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Franklin.
Assistant Chief Joe Kelly said the first lease payment will be $30,490, and it’s due Jan. 15, 2021. The second payment will be the same amount due on the same date in 2022. Then the department will have an option to buy the trucks for $1.
The other quote was $36,102 from John Jones in Salem.
The council also agreed to let the police department use Signal 10 to upfit the trucks. Kelly said it would cost $3,530 to upfit the first truck with lights and sirens, but the second one would be $395 cheaper because they will utilize equipment out of a vehicle. John Jones’ quote was $4,600 for each vehicle, while Fletcher doesn’t do upfitting in-house, Kelly said.
Kelly planned to order the vehicles Tuesday, and he said they should be ready to go within 60 to 90 days, if not sooner.
“Our goal is to have a mixed fleet of SUVs and trucks,” Kelly said. “With this, we can see where the potential flaws will be of having trucks.”
Kelly said the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department has one truck, while other sheriff’s and municipal departments around the state are switching to trucks. One benefit is they are a few thousand dollars cheaper than the sport utility vehicles.
Brownstown’s plan is to see how the officers like the trucks and then determine what the future of the fleet looks like.
Since the department received less-than-favorable offers for trading in its seven Ford Interceptors and Chevrolet Traverse, Kelly said he and Chief Tom Hanner are going to see about putting them up for sale.
“Our goal is to take whatever monies we get to pay toward new vehicles,” Kelly said. “That will help offset the lease costs in two years when we try to figure out ‘OK, do we want to do all trucks or do we want to do SUVs? Now, is there another vehicle on the market that’s the newest and greatest?’”
The discussion about police vehicles started with the department adding a ninth officer soon but not having a vehicle for that person. A pool car is needed, too.
During the previous two council meetings, Hanner and Kelly discussed various options, including buying a used police vehicle and upfitting it, trading in the current vehicles for a mix of trucks and SUVs or going with all trucks or all SUVs.
After considering all options, the police department and council agreed to lease the trucks for two years and see how officers feel about them.
“The other thought process is try to start staggering some of our cars so we’re not trying to do our whole fleet all at once with the understanding that we know we’ve got cars that are aging that will need to be replaced in the future,” council President Gregg Goshorn said.
The final lease payment on the current vehicles will be made this spring, and then the town owns them.
“Next year, we’ll be able to pay $1 to get rid of the vehicles we choose to retain, and then this would match closely to what our budget had been for vehicles,” Goshorn said.
Knowing the time Kelly and Hanner put into the vehicle situation, the council members expressed their appreciation.
“Thank you,” Goshorn said to Kelly and Hanner. “It was a lot of work, and we appreciate the time you put into this.”