Mounds View P.D. to purchase three new squad cars

The Mounds View City Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of three new squad cars and setups for those vehicles at a Monday, March 25 council meeting.

At the meeting Police Chief Tom Kinney told the council that $87,000 was set aside for the purchase of squad cars in the approved 2013 budget.

The chief told the council that two squad cars on the 11-car fleet were in need of replacing. A 2006 Ford model used by the public service officer has high mileage, engine hours, mechanical wear and has paint peeling off the roof, hood and trunk of the vehicle. A 2008 squad car is also designated for replacement, because of high mileage and engine hours, Kinney said.

In addition to those replacement vehicles, Kinney asked the council to consider increasing the current fleet size from 11 to 12 vehicles. He said there are times when there are not enough squad cars readily available for the 19 officers on the department.

“If we have one car down at the shop, for instance, sometimes we are left facing no available marked squad cars.”

He said that training obligations, court appointments and other uses have also contributed to there not being enough marked squad cars for police officers.

Additionally, Kinney noted that since the department established a K-9 unit last May, officer Nick Erickson takes the K-9 squad car home with him out of necessity, which adds another marked squad car unavailable for use at the station.

“I’m a fair believer that particularly our patrol officers need to have the best equipment available to them,” Mayor Joe Flaherty said.

He added that the council knew when they added a K-9 unit last year that it would mean the police department would be short a police car when officer Erickson is off-duty.

“I have no problem with this. I’m glad it was in the budget,” he added.

Council member Gary Meehlhause asked Kinney how much he thought the squad cars designated for replacement would bring at auction.

Kinney said a similar Mounds View police car sold at auction last year for $3,500 and he believed that is what they will most likely get per vehicle, give or take $300. Either way he assured the council that the new police vehicles could be purchased for $87,000 or slightly less with setups.

The setups for each car are around $6,000 and include the extra suspension, heavy duty battery, role cage, larger engine, and lighting typical of most police cars, according to Kinney.

Due to budgetary restraints the department is using some older equipment such as laptop computers that will be transferred to the newer vehicles.

Kinney said like many law enforcement agencies facing limited budgets, his department uses a mix of newer and older equipment in squad cars.

The three new squad cars will be Ford Interceptor models.

“We feel that this is a useful, efficient vehicle for police patrol usage,” Kinney said.

He said the department already has one Interceptor model and he would like to maintain the uniformity of the existing fleet as opposed to changing manufacturers.

Kinney said the three new Interceptor squads should arrive from the factory sometime in June.

Joshua Nielsen can be reached at jnielsen@lillienews.com or 651-748-7824.

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