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LOPD gets new cars, remains frugal

October 03, 2012 - Cars wear out and the cops are not immune to this truth.

Those cars that patrol the Village of Lake Orion and surrounding areas eventually need to be replaced, but thanks to some creative thinking and responsible usage from LOPD Chief Jerry Narsh, the cost to the taxpayers won't be too high.

"What we used to do was get four cars, maintain them, get a new car and move the other cars down to sell the oldest," said Narsh. "This was every year, then every two years. What I proposed was instead of having a fleet of old cars, now we have two cars every three years and rotate the cars to keep the miles low to prevent any one car from wearing out. We're trying to be as frugal as possible."

This method will soon see new life as the Lake Orion PD gets two new patrol cars to replace a 2008 Ford Crown Victoria. The remaining fleet of 2010 Crown Victorias will welcome two 2013 Ford Interceptors sometime in the next seven weeks.

The car is based on a Taurus frame, but the type is only provided to law enforcement agencies. The car is all-wheel drive, has performance and drivetrain enhancements to make it stronger and more dependable and is overall safer, especially in the winter according to Narsh.

The two vehicles will lease for just over $17,500 a year for a three year period.

However, Narsh also plans to save money on the lease as well.

"Ford Motor Company has a low interest municipality lease program where you have the lease for three years and at the end you own the car," he said. "It allows us to spread the payment out and we use the car for three years but rotating the car's responsibility. It saves on tax dollars as well because we keep them below warranty of 36,000 miles or 36 months, meaning we save on repair and maintenance."

Narsh said the old way of doing things left old cars getting used less and less as better cars came in. The result was that more wear and tear on the newer car left it in the same condition as cars already in the fleet.

The 2008 Crown Victoria, which has just under 100,000 miles on it, will go to auction and according to Narsh, likely will be picked up by a taxi company.

"Anyone can bid on them but we usually have taxi cab companies get them, especially ones out of Chicago," said Narsh. "The maintenance is usually pretty good on police cars so taxi companies love them. We usually get between $500 and $5,000, depending on the condition of the car. It's sad, because it's worth more, but that's what it is."

LOPD attempts to get six years out of each car in their fleet.

Narsh said most cars leave the service with over 100,000 miles on them, which is discouraged in the industry, but he said Orion is fortunate in that most roads are paved.

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