GLADSTONE - At Monday night's Gladstone City Commission meeting, commissioners gave the go-ahead to Gladstone Public Safety to purchase a new patrol vehicle and apply for grants to increase the vehicle's safety.
The city will spend $30,157 of funds earmarked for the purchase of a new patrol vehicle to acquire the 2014 Ford Interceptor. The Interceptor is equipped with all-wheel drive and is pursuit-rated, meaning it is capable of pursuing other vehicles and high-speed responses.
"The previous director, as you well know, didn't want to have a four-wheel drive vehicle and there's times in the winters when a rear-wheel drive patrol car just isn't going to get (anywhere)," said Commissioner Joe Maki of the vehicle.
While the Interceptor will be replacing the city's Ford Explorer, the Gladstone Public Safety Department does not plan to part with its current utility vehicle.
"It replaces our Ford Explorer, but I've spoken with the city manager (Darla Falcon) and it's hopefully my intention to keep that Explorer as a fire utility vehicle to pull our ice rescue trailer and/or the hovercraft," said Public Safety Director Paul Geyer.
"We've had several incidents where the Explorer has been out on patrol and/or out of the town - be it at the hospital or some sort of incident - and we have an ice rescue call and we're relying on somebody's private vehicle, so to speak, to pull that hovercraft where it needed to go," he added.
In the past, the city operated with four patrol units, however the city cut back and is currently using three, which presents problems for the department if a vehicle is out of service for repairs or is otherwise unavailable. The Explorer will continue to be marked as a police unit and will maintain nearly all of its current equipment so it can be available as a back up unit for situations when an extra vehicle is needed.
"Everything that's in (the Explorer) right now, with the exception of the 800 MHz radio, can't really go into this new vehicle. I mean the dimensions have changed, so that the bumper guard, the seat partition, the center console, all those things have to be changed on this new vehicle," said Geyer.
Because the Ford Interceptor is available as both an SUV and a car - both of which have identical interior dimensions and frames - equipment purchased for the utility Interceptor will also fit in any car type Interceptors the the department purchases in the future.
To outfit the new vehicle, the city approved submitting applications for grants through the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority's Risk Avoidance Program. The grants would partially fund the purchase of a bumper guard with integrated LED warning lights and a prisoner partition, which would separate officers from suspects being transported and allow officers to properly mount rifles and shotguns.
The city also approved the submission of MMRMA RAP grant application for three new in-car camera units and additional necessary equipment to outfit the three current squad cars, and a video security system for the Water Treatment Plant and Reservoir/Booster Station.
"Most do suspect that we already have (in car cameras), and (that) we're already utilizing it, and we just haven't been able to," said Geyer.