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Officers getting new vests, vehicles

Greenville police officers have a reason to be happy. They are getting some new toys. Officers who have vowed to serve and protect the Camellia City will be doing so in style, cruising the streets in four 2005 Ford Crown Victoria Police Cars. They are also adding a 2005 Ford Expedition to their fleet as well.

The total cost of the vehicles is $99,892, with the Crown Vic’s being listed at $19,363 and the Expedition tipping the scales at $22,440.

&uot;The money will come out of the general fund,&uot; said Dexter McClendon, mayor of the city of Greenville. &uot;We try to buy three or four cars each year. This goes along with us being able to keep the cars upgraded and running. We’ve got some cars that really need to be replaced. But when you are driving them all the time, they tend to wear out. But, it’s a matter of our police officers being in a vehicle that is safe and durable and we want our police officers to be out there safe and doing the best that they can do to keep Greenville safe.&uot;

According to Lonzo Ingram, chief of police for the city of Greenville, it will take approximately 12 weeks for the cars to get here.

&uot;We have the one man-one car plan and have been doing that for several years,&uot; said Ingram. &uot;We found that by doing it this way, the officers take more pride in their cars and the amount of money we spend on maintenance on a fleet of 30 or so cars is low. In order for us to be able to keep that cost low, we need to replenish the fleet every year.&uot;

The units will also be outfitted with police car equipment packages courtesy of Haynes Emergency Lighting.

&uot;Once we get the cars here, it should take about a week before they are in service,&uot; said Ingram.

For the four Crown Victoria’s it will be a cost of $3074.66 a car for a total of $12,298.64.

&uot;The money for the cars comes out of the capital improvement fund so it’s part of our budget,&uot; said McClendon. &uot;It basically comes from sales tax revenue.

The idea for the SUV, a Ford Expedition was suggested by the Mayor himself.

&uot;We felt like we needed a utility vehicle during and after Hurricane Ivan,&uot; said McClendon. &uot;That was actually my recommendation. You find out during a storm like that when it helps to have four-wheel drive vehicles.&uot;

In some parts of the county, having an SUV will be very beneficial.

&uot;We found that during the hurricane we needed to get some equipment and were unable to do so,&uot; said Ingram. &uot;We need to have access to more equipment and having a utility-type vehicle we would be able to carry more equipment during natural emergency type situation and will also help us during a situation like that.&uot;

The vehicles aren’t the only new addition to the police force.

At the last Greenville City Council meeting, the council voted to approve spending $7,350 on 14 new Body Armor Vests.

The vests themselves cost $525, but part of the cost is picked up by the Department of Justice’s Bullet Resistant Vest Grant Fund.

&uot;We have to replace the vests every five years,&uot; said Ingram. &uot;We do that because the perspiration wears the vest down. The good thing is that whatever we pay for the vests, we get half back thanks to a grant from the Justice Department.&uot;

The vests are Safariland Threat Level Three which according to Ingram &uot;will stop most anything.&uot;

Ingram said that some of the vests began arriving on Tuesday.