SLPD shops local, buys local for new fleet

Show Low Ford was awarded the bid for new police vehicles that will gradually replace the aging fleet. The Ford Expeditions shown are the first to be road-ready with police equipment outfitting, lights and decals. From left are Cmdr. Brad Provost, Ofc. Bernard Huser and his K9 ‘Nitro,” Guy Hatch, Show Low Police Chief Joseph Shelley and Sgt. Brandon Clark.

SHOW LOW — Approval to purchase 14 new vehicles for the Show Low Police Department (SLPD) was given in January by the city council. After proposals were reviewed by SLPD and the council, the bid was awarded to Show Low Ford, owned and operated locally by Guy Hatch.

Two of the new fleet have been outfitted and are ready to be put to good use by the department, one of which was paid for in part by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Grant, specifically for DUI enforcement.

When the rubber meets the road, the new fleet will include (7) 2020 Ford Interceptors for patrol, (2) 2020 Ford Interceptors for detectives, (2) 2020 Ford Interceptor hybrids for Senior Patrol, (1) 2019 Ford F-150 crew cab pickup and (2) 2019 Ford Expeditions that have already been green-lighted for use.

“They are slowly coming in and the remainder should be rolling out to the troops by the end of the calendar year,” says Show Low Police Public Information Officer Sgt. Shawn Roby.

The total cost of the new vehicles is not to exceed $533,747, which averages a little over $38,000 per vehicle. An amount of $205,937 will be added to the purchase cost for outfitting the cars and SUVs with required police equipment, lights, decals, etc. This cost will be offset by a grant in the amount of $47,000 from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

The fleet purchase will be paid off using 2019 and 2020 budget funds, according to Show Low City Manager Ed Muder and Police Chief Joe Shelley.

“This year’s budget allocated $250,000 for the vehicles,” confirmed City Manager Ed Muder during the council meeting. The remaining balance has been programmed into the 2020 budget. The Department is also saving around $50,000 by purchasing the vehicles outright instead of leasing them.

“We appreciated being a part of the bidding process and ultimately being awarded the bid,” says Show Low Ford owner Guy Hatch. “Show Low Ford has always supported our local law enforcement and first responders. We want to thank Chief Shelley and his team for choosing Show Low Ford.”

Why replace the fleet?

Typically, police departments try to spread new vehicle purchases across multiple budget cycles by buying four to five at one time. However, the department had only purchased one or two vehicles after the 2008 recession, says Show Low Police Chief Joe Shelley during the bid presentation to the city council earlier this year. “This purchase is catch-up and will be the only request for vehicles for the next couple years unless some type of major incident occurs,” Shelley explained.

The new vehicles are needed because SLPD’s entire fleet is aging. “We keep and use our vehicles for 8 -10 years so all of the current fleet have excessive mileage at this time,” added Shelley when he reviewed the detailed list of vehicles being replaced including the make, model, year, current mileage and total maintenance cost per vehicle since original purchase.

The old vehicles will be “repurposed” in other departments or sent to auction, said Shelley.

“It is all about what makes sense economically to use the funds in the best way possible for everyone,” Roby adds. “Of course the more we can keep our money on the mountain the better.”

As per the state contract, Arizona Emergency Products is fitting all the new vehicles with the required police emergency equipment including lights, radios, prisoner screens and other equipment.

“Show Low Ford is here to support and continue business with the City of Show Low, the police department and the community,” says Hatch.

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Laura Singleton is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering Show Low city government, business and education.

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