Village chief, mayor explain police car finances

CHATHAM – At a regular board meeting on October 14, 2010 the Village Board approved Police Chief Kevin Boehme’s request to purchase a new police. Chief Boehme said that he ordered the new car after that meeting and it should be ready for service at the end of this month.

In a January 18 interview with The Columbia Paper, Chief Boehme said that he wanted to clear up some misconceptions about the car, mainly the that the department is trading in a three-year-old vehicle for a new one. “We don’t just go out buying cars,” he said.

The new car will replace a 2004 model and is part of a vehicle replacement plan in the village budget. Chief Boehme said a vehicle replacement program for the two patrol cars the village uses was started in 1989. He wanted to make it clear that the police cars are replaced every six years on a rotating schedule as part of the program. The current 2004 model police car has 150,000 miles on it, said Chief Boehme, and has already been taken out of service once this year for repairs.

The total cost for the new car will be about $23,000. The board approved a bond anticipation note to pay for the new car over three years. At the October 14 meeting Mayor Paul Boehme said it would cost the village about $7,000 a year, an amount in the budget. Village residents just finished paying off the last car bought three years before.

Chief Boehme said he asked for funding through the state Office of Criminal Justice Services but was turned down, which delayed ordering the car from April to October of last year.

“It’s not cost effective,” Chief Boehme said of keeping the old car on the road. Having a new car, he said would save the village money in maintenance. In the 2010-11 village budget, the Police Department is allotted $8,000 for vehicle maintenance. Village Clerk Carol Simmons said the department has spent $5,451 so far. The village’s budget year runs from June through May.

Village has 4 full-time and 10 part-time police officers, according to Mr. Boehme, who said all of them use the patrol car. He said that police cars, which must be ordered through a state contract, have more wear on shocks and overall suspension than a normal car would. He said he’s calculated that a patrol cars travel 3,000 miles a month, 100 miles a day and 33 miles per shift. That means that they can cover the 1.2 miles of road in the village three times during a shift.

Besides the two patrol cars, Mr. Boehme says the village maintains an unmarked utility car that can be used by village employees.

Mr. Boehme said the Police Department receives a $3,500 to $5,000 grant from the state to patrol streets in the village that are deemed important by the citizens. The total budget for the police force is $368,368.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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