Opp to spend $76K on police vehicles

Published 12:11 am Tuesday, March 21, 2017

After some extensive discussion, the Opp City Council Monday voted to spend $76,098 on two police vehicles.

District 5 Councilman Skip Spurlin said he had talked to another law enforcement agency which has a large fleet of vehicles on the road, and they liked the Ford Police Interceptor Utility.

Opp Police Chief Mike McDonald is working to move to an assigned car basis in the department.

He said he’s currently assigned Crown Victorias and Impalas, but that won’t be feasible at some point due to the age and mileage of those vehicles.

McDonald said that assigning cars has three main benefits, which include recruiting, retention and minimizing maintenance.

District 1 Councilman Chad Jackson said having assigned cars gives more accountability when something tears up.

Officers who live within a 20-mile radius of Opp may take their patrol vehicles home, he said.

McDonald said officers tend to take more pride in their vehicles when they are assigned.

The question was whether to purchase the Ford or to purchase the Chevrolet Tahoe, which would have cost $86,920.

Spurlin asked City Clerk Connie Smith if they the money to purchase and she said they did.

District 3 Councilman Gary Strickland said he would like to go with two Tahoes, but he knew it was more expensive, but said he wanted to purchase the vehicle the chief wanted.

McDonald said he wasn’t scared of the new Fords.

District 4 Councilman LaVaughn Hines questioned whether purchasing patrol vehicles would be an every year occurrence. City Planner Jason Bryan said that the chief wanted to buy two cars per year for three years which would get them caught up and then possibly one per year after that.

“You don’t know what the revenue will be next year,” he said.

Bryan said he planned to propose a three-year work plan.

“You have three major projects about to be done in three or four months,” he said.

Smith said that if they don’t purchase new vehicles every two years, they spend the equivalent in maintenance costs for the older vehicles.

Hines was concerned that the constituents don’t understand the reasoning behind purchasing new vehicles. He said that their standpoint is if they city can purchase new vehicles it can tend to other projects.

“We just have to explain to the citizens why we are doing it,” Mayor Becky Bracke said.

The mayor took a poll on whether to purchase the Tahoe or the police interceptor utility and everyone except Strickland wanted the police interceptor. They all agreed on two vehicles.

In the end, they voted unanimously to purchase two Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicles.