City council approves overhaul of police fleet
by Jennifer Cohron
Jan 10, 2013 | 1871 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cordova City Council voted to upgrade and trim down its police fleet on Tuesday night.

The council approved a resolution declaring all but two of its police vehicles to be surplus property and agreed to replace them with Chevrolet Tahoes from the Hoover Police Department.

At its last meeting on Dec. 14, the council approved spending $5,000 to get several vehicles in the fleet street-worthy.

Only one of the department’s eight units was operational when newly-appointed Chief Nick Smith came on board in December.

During the discussion regarding the repairs, council member Warren Branch questioned whether the department needed so many vehicles.

Mayor Drew Gilbert said Tuesday night that there is also a need for a switch to SUVS because of the city’s hilly terrain. The fleet is now primarily made up of sedans.

“I rode around with Officer (Aaron) Mosely for about an hour, and we scraped no less than 15 times. We’re really just banging these vehicles up,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert presented a plan to the council that included selling three Crown Victorias and two Dodge Chargers.

The city would keep only a Ford Bronco and an unmarked Tahoe formerly used as a chief’s vehicle.

A second Tahoe was recently totaled in an accident by former officer Ken Marbury, who has resigned to become the assistant police chief at Parrish.

Gilbert recommended using the insurance settlement from the wrecked Tahoe, as well as the proceeds from selling the sedans, to purchase either four or five surplus Tahoes from Hoover PD.

“If you add the revenues together, I would say that on the low end we’d be in the $44,000 mark and on the high end probably around $53,000,” Gilbert said.

The Tahoes from Hoover will cost the city $10,000 each.

Each of the department’s full-time officers will be assigned his own vehicle. The fifth, if enough proceeds are secured for its purchase, would be used by part-time officers or when another unit is out of commission.

Gilbert said the city placed a set of Tahoes on hold pending Tuesday night’s approval.

“We will be able to drive to Hoover, grab them and put them on the road immediately,” Gilbert said.

In other action from the meeting, the council:

•Approved obtaining a debit card for the city’s General Fund.

Gilbert asked for the change because he said the current check-only system prevents the city from taking advantage of deals offered online.

Gilbert assured council members that steps will be taken to assure the security of the city’s funds.

Around-the-clock access to the account balance will be available online.

City clerk Leanne Dawkins will be the only cardholder and will only be able to use it with authorization from the mayor or council member Ed Earp.

•Approved pay raises for full-time dispatchers Pete Eustice and Merinda Pugh to $12 per hour and $10 per hour, respectively.

•Hired a new full-time officer, Tony Reid, and promoted part-time officer BJ Simmons to full-time status.