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Lower Swatara Township will buy two new police SUVs for $90,000

By Laura Hayes

laurahayes@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 9/18/19

The Lower Swatara Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed to spend $90,000 to buy two new police SUVs during its Sept. 4 meeting.

According to Lower Swatara Chief Jeff Vargo, the township has …

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Lower Swatara Township will buy two new police SUVs for $90,000

A 2020 Ford Police Interceptor
A 2020 Ford Police Interceptor
ford.com
Posted

The Lower Swatara Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed to spend $90,000 to buy two new police SUVs during its Sept. 4 meeting.

According to Lower Swatara Chief Jeff Vargo, the township has eight marked vehicles that are regularly used for patrol.

He said the two fully equipped 2020 Ford Police Interceptors that he wants to purchase would cost a total of about $90,000. The funds for the new SUVs would be budgeted for 2020.

“My recommendation [is] that we purchase two new cars because my vehicle fleet, my patrol fleet, is aging. The maintenance cost is rising,” Vargo said.

The department is spending money to replace patrol cars that have high mileage, he said.

The SUVs would replace a Ford Crown Victoria and a 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe.

Vargo said the Chevy had about 118,000 miles on it, and he said you can’t read the odometer on the Crown Victoria.

“Both of those vehicles have met their shelf life. I would like to get rid of those vehicles, sell those vehicles wherever I can,” Vargo said.

Township manager Betsy McBride said the dealer will not take the cars as a trade-in, and the cars will be sold separately.

The detectives use these two old cars, Vargo said. He said he plans to  take the striping off two of the higher-mileage cars and designate them for the detectives.

McBride said the township needed to get its order in.

“These cars get purchased quickly by municipalities because they’re in high demand. What I don’t want to see is us having be put in a position where we buy a vehicle that isn’t necessarily a vehicle that I would recommend,” Vargo said.

The department already had this make of car in its fleet, and Vargo said he wanted to get rid of some of the other makes and models that the department had such as the Chevrolets and Dodge Chargers.

“Is your ultimate goal to replace [them with] all the type of vehicles so there’s less of the added cost of the different mounts, the computers, the radios and eventually get it all the same?” Commissioner Chris DeHart asked. He explained that costs may be lowered in the future because all the vehicles use the same equipment.

“I couldn’t have said it better myself,” Vargo said.

He explained that each make and model had different type of equipment, such as cages, and he would be able to transfer the equipment into the new SUVs that they purchase.  “I can’t do that currently,” he said.

With the equipment that officers have in their vehicles — AEDs, shotguns, patrol rifles, gear bags, computers and radios — Vargo said the sedans aren’t big enough.

This is step one in a long-term plan Vargo has to replace the department’s cars.

He said the schedule calls for purchasing two vehicles a year over the next three years, and in year four and five that may decrease to one.

“I’m basing that solely on the mileage that I’m seeing right now, assuming those vehicles are relatively low mileage,” Vargo said.

Commissioner Mike Davies called Vargo’s replacement schedule “ambitious.”

Davies noted that two police cars typically are not purchased in one year.

“But I would be willing to support that and make the motion that we approve the ordering of these two vehicles for the coming year,” Davies said.