The chief of the Colorado Springs Police Department is asking for funding to replace vehicles that are well past their replacement date. The police department’s vehicles used to be replaced regularly, but due to budget cuts that is no longer true.
Chief Pete Carey says his officers were lucky to be in the right car on April 7, when they engaged in a chase with two men suspected of planning to rob a business on South Academy. During the pursuit, one of the men shot at the officers, hitting their car.
The chase ended when an officer caught up with the suspects on Latana Circle and crashed the patrol car head-on into the suspect’s vehicle.
"In that case it was because of a V8 Dodge Charger that we used that we were able to catch up and even disable the vehicle,” Carey said.
Carey says he wants to make sure his department maintains that capability. That’s why he made his pitch to the mayor.
The chief says his mechanics have done all they can to maintain their vehicles, but eventually the miles add up. "About 60 percent of our cars--or our first responders, patrol, tactical and motorcycle units--are well past an age and mileage that makes them safe to use,” he said.
Many of the vehicles have over 100,000 hard miles on then.
Carey said at a meeting with Mayor Steve Bach and the City Council that maintaining the cars in their current condition will actually end up costing more than buying replacements.
This year, CSPD is asking for funding to replace about 50 cars. The estimated for 2012 would be about $500,000. Carey also wants to spend the same amount in 2013 and 2014.
Many of the old vehicles could be sold for up to $3,000 each. That money would go to the city’s general fund.
CSPD is also asking for approximately $700,000 for building improvements, like a new roof for the 20-year-old Police Operations Center.