PARLIER – In a bid to modernize the police department and replace aging vehicles, city council has greenlit the purchase of a more up-to-date police car, navigating challenges in the current high-demand market.
At its Jan. 4 meeting, the Parlier City Council approved the purchase of a single 2023 hybrid police vehicle to help in revitalizing Parlier Police Department’s vehicle fleet.
“We need to keep the fleet up to date,” Police Chief David Cerda told the council. “Our department is expanding and new vehicles are part of the department’s growth.”
Cerda added that acquiring a vehicle takes time – typically eight to 12 months after an order is placed.
“Everything is back ordered,” he said. He added he will most likely not order the vehicle until the start of the new fiscal budget – at the end of June.
“These vehicles are in high demand by all agencies,” said Cerda. “We’re trying to get a 2023 vehicle. But if we have to order a 2024, it will definitely take 8 to 12 months.”
City Manager Sonia Hall added, “These vehicles are very hard to find.”
The vehicle in question is a 2023 Ford Interceptor hybrid. The cost for the basic vehicle is $50,682.
“That doesn’t include the equipment,” said Cerda. The lights, siren and special police equipment tack on another $15,000 to $18,000.
Hall said the city was able to secure $20,000 in funding towards the purchase from the San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District. The department’s report to the council mentioned that funds for the purchase had been allocated from the 2023-2024 budget.
Cerda said the fact that the city does not have a finance director and that the budget is not in great shape factored into his decision to request only one vehicle this year.
“I generally request two vehicles a year. But understanding the situation we’re in, I am asking for one vehicle,” he said.
The department currently has five 2018 vehicles. Cerda said the mileage on the vehicles is high – the department’s report to the council mentioned that the fleet’s older vehicles are reaching the 100,000-mile threshold.
“We need to recycle those (vehicles) out,” said Cerda.
Cerda told Councilmember Diego Garza the department typically sells older vehicles to local auto or wrecking yards.
“We surplussed three vehicles for about $400 each,” he said. Cerda said the vehicles had either interior or exterior damage – one vehicle was involved in a fire – and had been sitting in the police yard for a while.
Cerda said smaller police departments will also buy used vehicles, despite their high mileage.