by Jonathan Weaver
Last week, East Franklin Township Police received their newest batch of wheels.
Police Sergeant William Evans said on August 1, he and Officer R. Gahagan officially were able to drive a 2016 Ford Police Utility.
The vehicle, dubbed Able 41-1, was purchased through the state’s cooperative purchasing program COSTARS from Tri-Star Motors in Blairsville.
Labels and emergency lighting was completed through Team Force, Inc. in Johnstown (Cambria County) – the same company that worked on Parks Township and Kiski Township police vehicles.
Township supervisors put the new vehicle purchase in last year’s annual budget.
At a special meeting Thursday, supervisors voted to put the former police cruiser – a 2006 Ford Crown Victoria – out for bid.
With more than 102,000 miles on the Crown Victoria, the vehicle is being sold “as-is” and supervisors hope to profit at least $1,000 – the minimum advertised bid – from the sale. All lights are included, but stickers will be removed.
Sgt. Evans estimated that, while the vehicle may have 102,000 miles recorded while it was running, double the amount was not recorded while the car was idling at accident scenes.
“That car ran at least 2,000 hours per year for the last 11 years – and that’s only if one person (is on duty),” Sgt. Evans said. “Routinely, it’s been about 8-10 years that we replace the cars.”
Sgt. Evans also added that enough room for equipment – such as radios and laptop – and transports/prisoners in the backseat was a factor as well as the large municipal size
“In our municipality, the SUV is almost a necessity because we have over 90 miles of back roads,” Sgt. Evans said. “We have 125 miles of highway total, but over 90 miles of dirt road – that’s what’s really hard on the automobiles.”
The new Police Utility SUV joins with a 2009 Ford Crown Victoria – which police have driven about 52,000 miles.