MANSFIELD: Cops keep fleet fresh

By Amy Batista, Special Writer
   MANSFIELD — The committee unanimously approved the purchase of a Chevrolet Tahoe for the Police Department on May 22.
   The new 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe will replace a patrol vehicle that was involved in a motor vehicle accident in December 2012, Lieutenant Eric Campbell told The Register-News Friday.
   ”After the accident, the vehicle was determined by the insurance company to be totaled,” the Mansfield police officer stated.
   The patrol vehicle that was totaled was involved in an accident while responding to an emergency, Lt. Campbell added on Tuesday.
   According to Lt. Campbell, this will be the first Tahoes to join the fleet.
   The township primarily uses Crown Vics within the police fleet. There are seven vehicles in the fleet.
   There are 13 sworn officers in the Mansfield Township Police Department.
   ”We got some money back through insurance recovery,” said Chief Financial Officer Joseph Monzo on Sunday, adding it was around $12,000.
   ”At least for 2013, we are able to cover the costs,” Mr. Monzo said. “We will just budget for the lease payments for the next two years.”
   He said the money from the insurance will be used to purchase the new vehicle.
   ”The vehicle we just got we are leasing, we are not purchasing,” Mr. Monzo added. “We are leasing it over three years.”
   ”We are a 24 hours a day — 7 days a week police department that generates and responds to approximately 1,000 incidents a month,” Lt. Campbell told The Register-News on Tuesday.
   The continual public service of officers on duty patrolling the streets leads to immense wear and tear of law enforcement vehicles.
   ”Because of this, police departments will encounter an increase of maintenance cost due to wear and tear,” Lt. Campbell said. “We try and give the vehicles a resting period as long as all the vehicles are operational and not down for mechanical issues.”
   Municipalities throughout the Garden State typically authorize the replacement of police vehicles as needed.
   The cost of the vehicle is $45,496.84, according to the resolution.
   The township committee awarded the contract to Mall Chevrolet located at 75 Haddonfield Road in Cherry Hill. The proposal was submitted under the Cranford Police Cooperative Pricing System, according to the resolution.
   ”Cranford is a township up in northern New Jersey,” Mr. Monzo said. “They have a co-op with a number of communities in New Jersey. That co-op goes out and gets pricing for police cars for towns that want to be part of the co-op who want to be part of their pricing instead of having to bid on their own.”
   According to Mr. Monzo, whoever bids passes along the pricing to a member of the co-op.
   ”Since we have an aging patrol fleet and this was one our recently purchased vehicles, the department administration submitted a request to purchase a new patrol vehicle to the Township Committee,” said Lt. Campbell. “The Township Committee agreed. After an extensive search to find, in our opinion, the vehicle that best suits our department needs, the department’s administration selected the 2013 two-wheel drive Chevy Tahoe.”
   According to Lt. Campbell, the Tahoe is a “police packaged vehicle” which comes with a “stiffer suspension, a stronger alternator, a bigger battery, and is pursuit capable.”
   The Police Department is expecting to receive the vehicle within the next couple of months and “place it in service.”
   ”Once it is determined a patrol vehicle will be removed from the fleet and replaced, that vehicle will then be auctioned,” Lt. Campbell said.