The Newton Police Department will be receiving two new vehicles for administrative use after the Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved 3-2 to purchase the vehicles.
The civilian Dodge Durangos will be about $53,000 apiece before financing and will be purchased from Cadillac of Jackson. Previous financing was obtained for two police vehicles, but it was for more than $15,000 less than the current vehicles approved.
The move came after a discussion spanning several meetings about what vehicles Police Chief Randy Patrick wanted for the department, how much it would cost, having at least two comparable quotes and discussions of when the city could afford to make the purchases.
Earlier in November, City Clerk Charlene Evans said they would need to wait until after the first of the year before it could make the purchases due to low balances in the city’s general fund. As of the last meeting on Nov. 15, the city only had just over $2,000 in the general fund while it owed the water fund over $400,000. The city receives about $80,000 per month in sales tax revenues, but the majority of the city’s tax revenues would come in Feb. 20, when it receives its first property tax collections check.
To help the city afford to make the payments, police officer McKenzie Patrick said the police department would offer to pay up to the first two months of payments out of the department’s drug seizure funds. The department would also use those funds to “package out” the vehicles to pay for sirens, lights and other equipment for the vehicles.
McKenzie Patrick said the reason why they went with civilian vehicles was because these vehicles will be used as “administrative” vehicles.
“They will be used for the police chief and the assistant police chief,” he said. “They will be replacing the vehicles that are being used now, and those vehicles will be passed down in the department.”
The hope is that these vehicles will help them retire two older Crown Victorias that have well in excess of 200,000 miles on them.
The main point of contention is that several of the aldermen wanted more information on what they wanted instead of going ahead with the quotes provided.
“I really don’t feel comfortable approving the quotes we have in front of us without more information,” said Alderman Dan Moncrief. “I’d really feel better about getting police cars instead of civilian vehicles.”
Police Chief Randy Patrick said they have a no-chase policy, meaning they will not pursue a suspect on a high-speed chase. And that these vehicles will not be used in a police chase.
Alderman Michael Hillie said he wanted to wait on getting the vehicles until they used other avenues to help reduce crime in the city. Specifically, he was looking at the surveillance cameras the police department was considering from previous meetings.
“Once we get the cameras up and operating, then maybe, we go get the police cars,” Hillie said.
Despite not having all of the information, Alderman Bob Bridges sided with Alderman Eric McCalphia and Alderwoman Temeka Drummond to approve the vehicles. The main reason why he supported the move is because the police department was willing to pay two payments out of drug seizure money.
“Aye because I told them I would,” Bridges said.
The next step before the city gets the vehicles is to approve financing. City Manager Jay Powell said they will bring them back in December for approval.
At a Glance
The Newton Board of Mayor and Aldermen will be purchasing two used civilian, non-police Dodge Durangos from Cadillac of Jackson for a total of more than $53,000 per vehicle. However, financing has not yet been approved.
Police officer McKenzie Patrick told the board of mayor and aldermen that these two new vehicles will be used as “administrative vehicles,” meaning they will be not necessarily be used as patrol vehicles. However, they will be used by the Police Chief Randy Patrick and the Assistant Police Chief.
McKenzie Patrick said they will spend up to $7,000 per vehicle out of drug seizure money to “package out” the vehicles. The police department also pledged to provide up to the first two payments out of the same fund to help out the general fund