Montgomery Township supervisors this month approved the purchase of two 2011 Ford Crown Victoria police vehicles totaling $46,920, resulting in savings in excess of $7,000.
Montgomery Towship Police Chief Richard Brady said the department is scheduled to replace two marked patrol vehicles and one administrative vehicle next year.
For several years, the department has purchased Ford Crown Victorias as the vehicle of choice.
However, in 2012, Ford will discontinue Crown Victoria models, replacing them with Interceptor models.
Brady said the Interceptor is a “downsized vehicle.”
The new Interceptors are front-wheel drive – an option Brady said the department has never had any luck with – with a base price of $24,500. Throw in an all-wheel drive option and the price becomes $25,500 each.
“Chevy and Chrysler also have police model vehicles, however, neither appears to accommodate the needs of our department at this time,” Brady said. “Neither manufacturer has an extensive performance and maintenance track record on these newer models.”
In years prior, new Crown Victoria models were fitted with the police equipment from the old Crown Victoria models.
Yet, if the police department went with a new model and brand that wasn’t a Ford Crown Victoria, the cost of retrofitting with police equipment would exceed $5,000, Brady said.
“That would include the interior consolidator, prisoner partition, trunk trays for mounting radios, computer mounts, docking stations, emergency gear lights, et cetera. It would well be in excess of $5,000,” Brady said.
The vehicles will be delivered painted black and white and will be placed in storage until next June, Brady said. That is the time period when the department will be ready to retrofit the vehicles when the existing patrol vehicles require replacement.
And by “storage,” Brady meant outside, as there is no garage to store the vehicles.
“The department will need to purchase an after-market wiring harness in 2012 at a cost of $500 each,” he said. “These vehicles are in-stock vehicles and a wiring harness option, which we normally order, is not installed on these vehicles at the factory. Basically, we would be putting a new wiring harness in them.”
In response to a question by township Supervisor Mike Fox, Brady said the vehicles are already manufactured and sitting in the dealer’s lot.
“Should we wait until next year, you don’t know if they are going to be available or not,” Brady said. “I don’t want to put the extra money out on cars if we’re not sure we’re going to stay with that model.”
Brady said future options for police vehicles include the Dodge Charger and Chevrolet Caprice, in addition to the Ford Interceptor.
Fox thought the purchase now was a good idea for the township.
“It’s money that we were planning on spending next year. We will automatically save money for these,” he said.
He then asked township manager Larry Gregan for clarification.
“So there’s money already put aside for them? We’re buying them nine months earlier than when we would normally buy them. We’ll take them out of the budget next year and reallocate the funds this year?” Fox asked.
Gregan said Fox was correct in his determination.
“We have the funds in our capital equipment reserve, which we set aside each year for replacement equipment,” Gregan said.
Fox said the police have another year to figure out what is going to be the car of choice moving forward.
“We are looking for the most appropriate model for the type of patrol work we do,” Brady said.
Supervisors Chairman Robert Birch amusingly asked if smart cars were out of the question.
“We have a couple of people who are a little large,” said Brady. “Some of our arrestees might not fit in either.”
“If you use a smart car, you probably wouldn’t catch them,” Fox said, to laughs from the audience.
“Not unless we got out and pushed,” responded Brady.
The cars will be purchased under the Pennsylvania Police COSTARS contract from Milner Ford in Missouri.
COSTARS is a Pennsylvania cooperative purchasing program under the Department of General Services. Municipalities like Montgomery Township and Lansdale Borough are contracted with the state and are limited to certain statewide contracts.