Richmond PD says aging patrol cars are creating issues for officers

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RICHMOND, Ind. - A central Indiana police department is currently struggling with an aging car fleet while working to expand its force.

According to the Richmond Police Department, many of their older vehicles are rusting and regularly need repairs. Some officers have even been left stranded due to mechanical issues with their cars.

The department's maintenance shop is usually busy. The most recent issue happened overnight when an officer's patrol car had to be towed in. According to the department, the officer could not get the car to move.

"That can lead to a bit of chaos especially if that officer has been sent to an emergency call," said Major Michael Britt, of the Richmond Police Department. "Other arrangements have to be made if he doesn’t have reliable transportation."

Britt said some of their Crown Victoria's date back to 2003.

"I have 18 vehicles in my fleet that need to be removed," Britt said. "These are the ones that we’ve deemed need to be replaced for officer safety or reliability."

According to Britt, the problems are due to aging cars and prior lack of proper upkeep.

"We suffered from kind of a lack of official maintenance program, which we’ve been able to institute," Britt said.

Britt made a presentation to the Richmond Common Council Monday night asking for the approval of funds to buy 8 new patrol cars. The police department has set aside $109,000 from their federal asset forfeiture fund for the purchases. But, they need $107,000 more from the city.

There is a time crunch for the department. There are about about 12 officers in different stages of training.

"I don’t have enough vehicles to equip the officers that are coming up on the day they can ride by themselves," Britt said.

Now. it will be up to the council members to determine whether there is enough money for the cars.

The council's next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 5.

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