Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees approved the $81,212.80 purchase of two Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicles during the Jan. 25 meeting.
It may take some time, however, for the new patrol cars to appear on township roads. Public Safety Director/Police Chief Eric Luke explained that he was requesting the approval of the budgeted purchase now in an effort to get in line when the vehicles are once again being produced by Ford Motor Co.
He said that production of the cars was stopped last spring due to the shortage of computer chips necessary to operate the vehicles. Luke explained that the standard law enforcement practice is to double the mileage shown on the vehicle odometer. "We double the mileage on the vehicle due to wear and tear and that's before you bring in Sumpter Township roads."
He explained that two patrol cars were due for replacement next year as they would have about 120,000 miles on the odometer, which would be considered 250,000 miles due to the exceptional use during routine police patrols.
He explained that because the cars are not in production he was requesting the purchase of two vehicles in an effort to "get on the list" when the interceptor utility vehicles are again in production. He said there was no anticipated date for the resumption of production and that while the manufacturer might begin to produce vehicles, without the chips they could be sent to "sit on a lot somewhere."
He said reliable vehicles are a crucial tool for law enforcement.
"We do not want these vehicles to break down on the way to an emergency-if someone was breaking down your door," he said. One replacement patrol vehicle was ordered last April and has still not been delivered, he said, due to the lack of computer chips
Luke said that the department had benefitted from an extended vehicle warranty the township purchased which has cut down on repair costs.
"It is good to know that if a car breaks down, we can take it in and get it repaired the next day without some extreme cost," he said. He added that when new vehicles are delivered, older cars are transferred into the detective bureau or other uses. "We don't take them out of use," he said.
Approval of the purchase from Atchinson Ford was by unanimous vote of the trustees with Trustee Peggy Morgan and Township Clerk Esther Hurst excused from the meeting.