Avondale Estates, Georgia — The Avondale Estates City Commission at its July 27 meeting approved the purchase of nine police vehicles, including three electric vehicles.
Police Chief Harry Hess presented a purchase proposal at the July 13 business session. The police department currently has 15 marked patrol vehicles and one unmarked vehicle. The department has a staff of 15 full-time officers and one part-time officer.
Three vehicles were taken out of service before Hess became police chief in April.
“Since I started, I have decommissioned an additional marked patrol vehicle and the unmarked CID vehicle due to the overwhelming cost of repairs,” Hess wrote in a memo. “I have reserved one vehicle only as a spare marked patrol vehicle. This spare vehicle is only used in an emergency if an officer’s vehicle needs repairs. This leaves only 10 vehicles of marked patrol and one spare for departmental use.
The police vehicle replacement schedule would depend on the model year, mileage and mechanical condition of the vehicles.
“Emergency response vehicles are expected to be in service for seven years or 100,000 miles,” Hess said. “This life is partly due to the intermittent nature of the job and the extreme use to respond to emergency calls for service. Additionally, the life of the vehicle may be shortened due to lack of care or preventive maintenance performed.
To reduce engine hours, Hess advised officers to turn off vehicles when not on call for services and away from their vehicles. All cars would also be equipped with on-board cameras in the future. Currently only marked vehicles purchased from 2019 have on-board camera systems.
Hess asked the city to purchase six 2022 Ford Utility Police Interceptor vehicles as patrol cars and three Ford Mustang Mach-Es for administrative purposes. Mach-Es would be issued to the Chief of Police, CID Sergeant, and Deputy Chief of Police.
For the past three years, the city has tried to create a sustainable environment by purchasing hybrid vehicles, but these are not yet available to the city. Hybrid vehicles were not an option for police intercept vehicles this year.
“However, Wade Ford has an all-electric vehicle that has been used for administrative purposes by police in other jurisdictions, including Dunwoody, the City of Savannah School District Police, and other agencies seeking to acquire them,” City Manager Patrick Bryant said. . “It’s a Ford Mustang Mach-E.”
The Mach-Es are not ready to be used on patrol.
“No manufacturer has developed an EV fit-out package other than the Tesla Model Y, which is a very, very expensive product for patrol,” Bryant said. “But they have upfit packages on this vehicle for administrative purposes.”
The vehicle life cycle is expected to be seven years.
“After all of this research, the projected savings in fuel and maintenance costs over the seven-year period for these three vehicles is $84,000, and we believe this is a conservative estimate,” Bryant said. “Most of these savings come from fuel.”
City staff also found a program that would install three charging stations at City Hall. Two would be public smart charging stations, which would be available for public use. The third station would be for police only, Bryant said.
The cost of this infrastructure would be approximately $6,000 to $9,000. Bryant added that the city could install chargers at officers’ homes, but wouldn’t necessarily need them. Motors travel 300 miles per charge.
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