Genoa Township Police Chief Steve Gammill has cut back on the number of vehicles in his department’s fleet, and since he came on board, he has initiated a vehicle replacement plan.
“When I started with the department back in 2013, we had 15 marked cruisers,” Gammill said during last Thursday evening’s (March 2) Genoa Township Board of Trustees meeting. “We have three fewer vehicles today. Three vehicles are on the road at all times, and sometimes, during peak duty, we have five and six vehicles on the road.”
Gammill said today’s Genoa Township PD fleet is composed of one sergeant’s vehicle, four patrol vehicles, two vehicles for School Resource Officers, one K-9 unit, one lieutenant’s unit, and three units for relief, maintenance, and special duty.
Gammill said early in his tenure as chief, a decision was made not to replace department cars until a vehicle replacement plan was in place. That plan included tracking not only vehicle mileage, but also tracking repair costs and down time due to repairs.
“Our vehicle replacement plan calls for vehicles to last seven to nine years,” Gammill said. “Right now we’re averaging eight years, with replacement depending on mileage, age, and repair costs. Some of our vehicles are used eight hours a day, some 16 hours. In our 21 square-mile township, there’s a lot of driving every day.”
Several years ago, there was an almost industry-wide move from Ford Crown Victorias to Dodge Chargers. Genoa followed suit and purchased several Dodge Chargers.
“Our Dodge Charger maintenance costs are way up,” Gammill said. “Today, there are very few options for reliable Police Department cars outside of a standard Ford SUV. We’ve purchased three of the Fords so far, and maintenance costs have been minimal.”
Gammill asked the trustees to approve replacing the department’s K-9 cruiser and also Car 63, both replacements would be 2017 Ford SUVs from Lebanon Ford. Gammill said the units are in line with the department’s 2017 capital funds and the department’s vehicle replacement schedule.
“Our current K-9 unit is a 2009 Crown Vic with 90,000 miles on the odometer, and because of the needs of the dog, that car is running all the time,” Gammill said. “We’ve put in for a grant for the canine car. If we ordered it today, we would get it in October.”
He said the K-9 unit’s grant request has a 25 percent local match.
Gammill said Car 63, a 2001 Crown Vic, has 116,000 miles on the odometer.
The trustees approved purchasing both new Ford SUVs for $56,000; and approved spending an additional $32,000 for Parr Public Safety Equipment to outfit both vehicles for duty.
The trustees also approved a request by Genoa Buildings & Grounds Supervisor Bob Matthews to purchase a new dump truck.
“The 2017 Kenworth would replace a 2002 truck we use for snowplowing,” Matthews said. “The cost is $134,856 at state-bid pricing. It’s already built; we could get it in two weeks.”
Matthews said $100,000 had already been appropriated in the Permissive Motor Vehicle Tax Fund, Capital Outlay; the remainder of the cost is available but needed re-appropriated. He said the snowplow and salt spreader on the 2002 truck would be used on the new truck. He also noted that plowing trucks typically have a 15-year life expectancy.
After re-appropriating the additional needed funds, the trustees approved purchasing the 2017 Kenworth T370 Single Axle Plow Truck with a Henderson stainless steel dump body from Kenworth of Richfield.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.