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Marshfield Police Department Evaluates Safety, Cost Before Vehicle Purchase
Marshfield Police Department has a new vehicle traversing the streets. The 2017 Ram 1500 is the first truck to join the lot full of Chevy Tahoes, and brings with it improved capabilities at a cost-effective price. (2017 will be the first year without any Chevy Impalas on the force, all having been replaced by SUV or truck.)
“Our Chevy Tahoes that we’ve driven for the last 4-5 years have all been 2-wheel drive because the 4-wheel were too expensive,” said Police Chief Rick Gramza. “In pricing out some other options out there, we came across the Ram pickup truck that we could purchase for far less than the 2-wheel drive Chevy Tahoe. It’s also more of a savings compared to the 4-wheel drive Chevy Tahoe.”
Roughly every three years, the department cycles out vehicles reaching the end of their 100,000 mile powertrain warranty, selling them through Wisconsin Surplus Auction. Replacement vehicles are purchased new through local dealerships.
“We buy new because the government pricing that we get is good,” said Gramza. “The truck we bought was $31,000 and if you were to price one out right now, the equivalent would be $46,000.”
Gramza anticipates a higher return on the Ram than the Tahoe, another benefit to purchasing this particular vehicle.
“We purchased a $46,000 vehicle for $31,000, and can probably turn around in three years and sell it for $20-$25,000 dollars,” said Gramza. “Essentially, the City will take roughly a $6,000 loss on the vehicle. Over the course of three years, we are making a mere $166/month car payment to drive it (minus the gas and such). It’s just cost effective that way and less of a burden on taxpayers.”
Comparatively, the resale value of the department’s Impalas (purchased at $25,000) is just $3,000 after three years- a loss of $22,000.
Similarly, the Chevy Tahoes (originally purchased at $28,000 and now selling for $34,000) can be sold after three years for just $8-12,000.
“We’re hoping that the resale of the Ram, after we have it for three years, will be higher,” said Gramza. “It has some features, such as 4-wheel drive, that may be sought after or preferred by some.”
Aside from price, other benefits of the new vehicle include increased cargo space and the ability to transport larger pieces of evidence (such as large pieces of evidence or a bicycle), improved fuel efficiency, and, perhaps most significant, 4-wheel drive capability.
“It’s our job to not only keep the community safe, but keep our officers safe and we want to put them in safe and sound vehicles,” said Gramza. “I think the 4-wheel drive aspect is huge and not just because of Wisconsin roads, but for our ability to respond to emergency calls properly and efficiently and successfully.”
Last winter, during one of the larger snowstorms, officers were called to respond to four different domestic abuse calls.
“In two of them, the officers got stuck and had to continue responding on foot because their 2-wheel vehicle got stuck in the snow,” said Gramza. “I don’t fault our officers. I fault the conditions and the capability of the vehicles. In the event of a snowstorm, we want to put our officers in a vehicle that will allow us to respond effectively.”
“My goal is in the next two years is for all vehicles to be all-wheel or 4-wheel drive, so that situation doesn’t happen again,” he said.
In an effort to continue transparency, the public is always welcome to contact Chief Gramza with any questions or concerns.
Discussion on Police Vehicle at February 14, 2017 Common Council meeting.