Brownstown Town Council approves police car upfitting

BROWNSTOWN — Five new police cars are expected to arrive at the Brownstown Police Department soon.

They will then need to be upfitted to ensure officers have all they need to protect and serve the county seat.

During a recent town council meeting, Chief Tom Hanner received unanimous approval to have a local company upfit the 2022 Ford Interceptors.

MAC Lighting Solutions LLC of Brownstown had the low bid of two received at $48,000. The other bid was $59,996.62 from Priority Outfitters of Danville, but Hanner said that included four radars valued at $8,900, so taking those out of the quote puts it at more than $51,000. MAC’s bid didn’t include radars.

Hanner said both companies told him it would be cheaper if he orders the radars separately. He needs five and they are $2,195 apiece, so that’s a total of $10,975.

Council President Gregg Goshorn asked Clerk-Treasurer David Willey how that expense would be covered, and he said it’s possible to bring it out of the bond.

“As of right now, that’s a big chunk that we need right away,” Goshorn said.

Once the equipment is ordered for the new vehicles, Hanner said it will take about 12 weeks to get it in. The target date for delivery of the new vehicles is May 16.

“We appreciate it,” he told the council after it approved the upfitting. “I’ll get in touch with MAC Lighting Solutions and get the ball rolling.”

Hanner said one benefit of choosing MAC Lighting Solutions is in the event any issues arise, the company is close by and accessible.

“I think if we can get a chance to use someone local, then we use them local,” Councilman Mark Reynolds said.

“(The quote) is less expensive, and you don’t have to drive cars far away to correct issues,” Councilwoman Sharon Koch added.

The department wants to sell five of the six Interceptors it currently has, keeping the one that’s in the best shape.

Hanner said Medora Town Marshal Jeff Walters is interested in one of the vehicles and wanted a selling price to pitch to the Medora Town Council.

“We want to leave it completely upfitted so that way, we don’t have to pay to strip it, and we don’t want to get stuck with the old stuff and they won’t take it on trade,” Hanner said. “We have to keep the 800 radio out of it. That would be the only thing.”

The vehicle is a 2016 model with around 88,000 miles. Researching similar vehicles on the internet, Hanner said he found them for sale between $16,795 and $20,000. Those, however, aren’t upfitted.

The car does have a busted windshield that can be replaced, but the trim molding is not available.

“We’re still waiting to try to get that done,” Hanner said.

The council and Hanner agreed to offer the car to Medora for $18,500, and he said he would share that with Walters to run by that community’s town council.

“I want to be fair to both towns,” Koch said.

“They are a good partner. We all work together,” Hanner said. “We gave them a car for maybe a dollar or less a few years back.”

In other equipment needs, Hanner said his department’s in-car radios should be replaced. He said the one he has is 15 years old and isn’t able to be worked on anymore.

If the department buys one radio, the county’s 911 board will buy one, so Hanner said that may be a way to replace them. He told the council he will report back on what he finds out.

Hanner also said officers just got fitted for new bulletproof vests because many of them are expired. It’s recommended for the vests to be replaced after five years, but Hanner said several are older than that. At more than $1,000 apiece, they now are twice as expensive as they used to be.

“We have always tried to do that for four (years) so we stayed ahead of the game, but the way things have gone, we got behind,” he said. “I’m shocked at how much they are now. I think we need to get it done.”