Must be that time of the financial year again. Counties and municipalities are stocking up on long put off purchases.
In Arroyo Grande and Pismo Beach some new SUV’s are the hot item of the season.
Unlike the Five Cities Fire Authority, police forces in the area do not pool resources for stations and equipment, but the neighbors are getting some similar gear this year.
As one of the first projects he’s shepherded through from his time as acting Chief of Police, since acquiring the title permanently, Arroyo Grande’s Chief, Beau Pryor has leased nine new Ford Explorers to replace the City’s Dodge Charger interceptor units.
It says something about the state of fuel efficiency technology that the larger vehicles with an “Ecoboost” engine package are expected to perform about the same as the suped up Chargers did with their massive V-8’s.
The reasons Chief Pryor listed were that: the larger size is better overall for officers, who do after all use the vehicles as mobile offices during extended shifts; they’re cheaper under the current deal; and that the service center taking care of their lease will be more available.
While they hope that the Ford fleet will not live up to the adage Fix Or Repair Daily, if there are issues Mullahey Ford is just down the road with a promise to take care of the boys in blue.
“The new fleet has been in the work for awhile,” said Chief Pryor, “We previously did two rounds of Dodge leases in 2008 and 2013…Chargers for patrol as well as Durangos for the K-9 units…but we have no local Dodge dealer.”
For the first lease they used the dealer in SLO, he noted, but grew dissatisfied with the level of care being given. That’s when they moved to an arrangement in Santa Maria. That had it’s own challenges as the commute for basic servicing took a toll on the Department.
That part may be in the past, but the transition is not complete. As of press time, the Chief said the City is “running out of real estate” in their storage yard with the delivery of five-of-nine brand new, 2017 year Explorers. They’ll be outfitted one by one with all the modern tech that makes a fleet car into a law enforcement tool.
The Chargers will be decommissioned sometime around the end of the year, with their leases bought out by the City and auctioned off.
Pismo Beach by contrast does not lease their equipment, preferring instead to rely on the guile of their own fleet mechanics and replace vehicles individually.
Pismo Beach Police Chief Jake Miller explained that they’re not interested in switching the whole fleet over to SUV’s but it is time to swap out the Sergeant’s Chevy Tahoe.
The Tahoe is the only one of the Department’s vehicles used during every shift, as well as, the only one capable of both a high speed or beach pursuit.
“We cycle three years for the Tahoe and four for the rest of the fleet,” said Chief Miller, “Officers do have access to an ATV and we have the Humvee, but this is the only one that routinely gets service calls on the beach. It’s the only one they make that has the 4×4 package and the engine we need.”
Pismo is in a unique position he added, with four miles of ocean front in the County from Shell to Oceano.
Contrasting with Arroyo Grande’s nine, Pismo Beach has 14 vehicles in circulation.
The roll cage and other technology will be moved into the new vehicle, likely within two to three months, and the older truck will be sent off to the City’s fleet yard to be allocated among other departments.
Pismo Beach’s lease agreement rings in at $282,551.
The Arroyo Grande Tahoe will be approximately $30,000.