Powder Springs is set to trade in its two police motorcycles for a Dodge Charger, continuing the cycle of getting high-mileage cars out of the force and bringing fresh ones in.
Aiken Ford in Winder offered a trade-in value of $16,000 for the Harley Davidsons, down from $20,000 officials had hoped for. They were originally purchased for about $12,000 each and eventually were just “sitting collecting dust," Police Chief Charlie Sewell said last year.
“All they were being used for was to transport two officers home and back to work," he said. "The other employees didn’t have the benefit of a car to drive home and the city gas, so I didn’t think it was fair to all the other employees."
Among other reasons, the motorcycles weren't used to patrol because suspects can't be transported in them, and they don't provide the safety of a car while writing tickets and doing computer work.
Sewell came back to the council two months later with a plan he hoped would lead to more money: leaving all the police gear on them and selling them to another police agency through sealed bids.
But after advertising the vehicles, the city had “a few hits but no takers,” interim City Manager Brad Hulsey said at Monday’s work session before the City Council voted 5-0 to give him permission to trade them in.
A remaining $6,700 in savings from this summer’s $133,000 purchase of four other police Dodge Chargers will split the difference from the trade-in value for the new one. Some equipment for it will be purchased through the Police Department’s seizure fund.
In December 2011, Sewell detailed how all 14 patrol cars are above the recommended mileage for police vehicles, and the maintenance bills on several of them are stacking up.
“If we get this new car, we’re still going to have nine cars with 80,000 to 120,000 miles on them,” he said Monday, adding that he hopes to cycle three new cars onto the fleet every year.
That mileage may seem low for civilian vehicles, he said, but police cars need to be in tiptop shape for safety and rapid response.
In the near future, Sewell said the city will also have to begin looking at replacing the Police Department’s administrative vehicles that are used by detectives and others.