Reynoldsburg will soon have three new police cruisers plus one SUV for supervisors if Police Chief David Suciu gets his way.
At the Jan. 22 meeting of the Reynoldsburg City Council Safety Committee, the chief asked council to consider trading in four older police cruisers with more than 100,000 miles on each for the new vehicles.
"We have 16 marked cars in our fleet," he explained. If four cruisers are traded in yearly, he continued, "That rotates our cars every four years."
Suciu asked council to consider appropriating from the general fund $20,053 each for the three Ford Crown Victoria cruisers, plus $36,310 to outfit the three vehicles with light bars, radios, computers and other equipment.
A separate Chevy Tahoe SUV would cost $26,354, with $12,470 in additional costs for similar modifications. All four vehicles would be in the newer black and white design, which now comprises about half the current fleet.
"We, at one time, had a 4×4 vehicle," recalled William Hills, president of council. "Is that still in our fleet?"
Suciu said the 4×4 is now an unmarked car and is still in use by the department.
"This is going to be a supervisory vehicle," he said, noting the larger SUV could accommodate more equipment than a standard cruiser. "It would be readily available out of the SUV instead of possibly having to go back to the police station."
In addition, the chief said the 4×4 capabilities of the SUV could come in handy in the unpredictable Ohio weather.
"It would be nice to have the (4×4) capability in case we need it."
Hills said he was surprised to see the SUV included in the chief’s request.
"It was my understanding from the mayor that this was pulled from the fleet," he said. "I think it’s a very poor idea in the position that we’re in."
Councilwoman Leslie Kelly asked whether the SUV would be out in the community when the patrol officers needed the additional equipment.
"They (supervisors) do patrol when they are not at the station doing work," Suciu replied.
Councilman Mel Clemens said he was concerned that the chief was asking for money out of the general fund rather than taking it out of the police department’s budget.
"This is only the third week (of the year) and already you’re asking for this out of the general fund," he said. "I’d rather see you take it out of another one of your funds … If you could shift your money around and transfer it, I see no problem with it. That is what your money is for."
Councilman Doug Joseph agreed, "I think his proposal is a reasonable one."
Both Councilwoman Antoinette Newman and Councilman Ron Stake seemed to support the chief’s plan. Newman said the SUV sounds practical because more equipment could be readily available when needed.
"That makes sense – it would allow for more efficient operation."
Stake said the cost difference is minimal when you look at the benefits.
"I thought it would be very reasonable to get the Tahoe versus the Crown Victoria."
Suciu said he would like council’s decision by the end of February, so he could order the vehicles by the dealer’s deadline.
The committee agreed to move the chief’s request to city council’s agenda for a first reading at the Jan. 28 meeting, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. in council chambers at the municipal building, 7232 E. Main St.