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Grosse Pointe City

July 30, 2014

City greenlights public safety vehicle purchase

By K. Michelle Moran
C & G Staff Writer

GROSSE POINTE CITY — Under most circumstances, city administrators are asked to keep costs as low as possible.

But given the fact that other public safety departments are moving away from Ford Taurus police cars because they lack the room needed for police and fire equipment, the Grosse Pointe City Council told Public Safety Director Stephen Poloni to purchase two new Ford Explorer police vehicles, instead of one Explorer and one Ford Taurus.

During a meeting July 21, the City Council unanimously approved a low bid of $26,040 apiece for each of the Ford Explorers; the Ford Taurus bid had come in at $24,780, or $1,260 less than the Explorer. Together, the new Ford Explorers will cost the City $52,080.

“You’re looking at $1,200,” City Council member Donald Parthum Jr. said. “That’s not a big expense.”

Poloni had requested a Ford Explorer and Ford Taurus to replace two aging vehicles in the City fleet — a 2004 Ford Crown Victoria used by Poloni that’s expected to have about 80,000 miles on it by the time the new vehicles arrive, and a scout car with roughly 100,000 miles on it. Ford no longer makes the Crown Victoria, and Poloni acknowledged that the Ford Taurus police vehicle that replaced it is noticeably smaller.

“They are too small (for all of the equipment), especially for public safety,” Poloni told the council, noting that they can’t train a new officer in a Taurus because there isn’t enough room in the front seat with the in-car computers, bulletproof vests and other needed equipment. And because public safety officers also carry a certain amount of fire equipment and gear with them, space becomes even more of a concern, he said.

“It’s been a problem for all of the other Pointes,” said Poloni, noting that all of the chiefs with neighboring departments have said they’re switching to the larger Explorer instead.

Parthum said the Crown Victoria “is huge” compared to the Taurus, which he called a “tiny little car.”

Most council members felt it made more sense to make the switch to the Explorer now, rather than adding a Taurus to the fleet.

“I guarantee in the long- run, you’ll come out ahead,” City Council member Christopher Boettcher told Poloni.

The 2014-15 budget had set aside $68,177 for the new police vehicles, which also includes graphics and equipment.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer K. Michelle Moran at kmoran@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1047.