Scottsdale City Council approves police vehicle, equipment grant

Scottsdale Police Department will use a grant to replace one of its cars that is nearing its end. (File photo)

Scottsdale City Council recently approved a police vehicle and equipment grant for replacing a Dodge Charger at the “end of its life.”

The resolutions were adopted and approved on consent at the regular City Council meeting on May 21.

Scottsdale City Council (File photo)

According to a city staff report detailing the contract with the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Scottsdale is to receive $57,500 in grant funds to buy a police vehicle and associated equipment.

The $57,500 grant received from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is designated to replace the semi-marked Charger in the traffic unit with a semi-marked SUV. Like the previous traffic unit car, the grant-purchased vehicle will be placed in the city’s fleet for maintenance and operating costs while also collecting replacement funds.

The department proposes to use the replacement funds collected on the semi-marked Charger to purchase a civilian vehicle, which does not include lights, sirens, or computer to mobilize surveillance equipment. The civilian vehicle will remain supported by fleet management for maintenance and operating costs; but will also begin to collect replacement funds to replace the vehicle at the end of its life.

A budget transfer of $57,500 from the fiscal year 2018-19 Future Grants Budget and/or Grant Contingency Budget will allow the creation of a new cost center to record the related grant activity, according to the staff report, which described the Scottsdale Police Department’s “three-pronged approach” to curtailing impaired and reckless drivers through enhancing traffic safety by increasing officer training, staffing and education.

Although traffic officers are not only responsible for patrolling city streets, they enforce traffic laws and respond to traffic accidents in semi-marked police Dodge Chargers that can only be replaced with an SUV upon the department covering the purchasing difference at replacement time.

There is one semi-marked Charger used by the traffic unit scheduled to be replaced in FY2019-20 that fleet management can swap with another Charger if done before October 2019, according to the staff report.

However, 2013 and newer Chargers are “not functional” as a police officer vehicle — Dodge changed the interior design of the police-rated Charger and reduced space in the front seat of the vehicle. The space reduction required the mobile data computer to be moved further right of the driver’s side.

The staff report described the eliminated space as unsafe to a passenger in the passenger seat. Plus, the change hindered training a new officer or conducting two-officer details in the vehicles.

Meanwhile, all 2013 existing marked Chargers were converted to “Police Aide” vehicles.

And, since Dodge reportedly announced that the Dodge Charger will no longer be available in a police-rated vehicle after the 2019 production year, as marked Chargers reach its replacement cycle, the fleet management is tasked to replace the Charger with an SUV, the report detailed.

Meanwhile, since another component of the department is the undercover units — responsible for conducting surveillance and investigations on suspected criminals — many tools are used to assist in gathering evidence and conducting arrests, namely requiring an unmarked vehicle not equipped with police lights and/or sirens, the report added.

The state will reimburse the city for costs to purchase a police-rated vehicle with necessary “upfitting” including lighting package and radio equipment, the report said. The vehicle purchased with grant funds replaces the semi-marked traffic unit vehicle that is deemed “unsafe to operate as a police officer vehicle” with a police-rated semi-marked SUV.

There will be no resource impact on the new grant vehicle as maintenance, operating and replacement costs will continue, stated the report.

Replacement funds collected for the traffic unit’s semi-marked Charger will be used to buy a civilian vehicle used for surveillance and the extra vehicle added to the fleet will include an increase to fleet management’s replacement fund of $6,100 annually from the General Fund.

Independent Newsmedia News Services Specialist Delarita Ford can be reached by e-mail at dford@newszap.com.

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