Council OKs repairs for police fleet
by Jennifer Cohron
Dec 14, 2012 | 1845 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CORDOVA — Until recently, the Cordova Police Department’s fleet of eight vehicles included only one that was operational, and even it had bald tires and a busted headlight that one of the officers fixed.

“They weren’t fit to joy ride around town, much less patrol,” Mayor Drew Gilbert said of the units prior to the council approving more than $5,000 in repairs Tuesday night.

Nearly $3,850 was spent to get three vehicles in working order — a 2004 Ford Crown Vic, a 2005 Ford Crown Vic and a 2008 Dodge Charger. The city also paid more than $1,200 for new tires for two 2005 Chevrolet Tahoes.

“They were on racing slicks. It wasn’t safe for our officers to even be in those units,” Gilbert said during the meeting.

During the discussion of expenses, council member Warren Branch questioned whether the department needed all eight vehicles and if some could be sold.

Gilbert said the council could look into replacing some of the vehicles but that the department needs enough so that one unit is not being driven in back-to-back shifts.

Chief Nick Smith also announced during his update on the department that he has assigned patrol vehicles to each officer based on seniority and employment status.

Smith said in a follow-up interview Thursday that when he stepped into his new position at Cordova, one vehicle was being driven around-the-clock. After the recent repairs, the department now has six vehicles that are street worthy — two Crown Vics, two Chargers and two Tahoes.

“We assigned each officer their own patrol car because they take better care of it and it makes the car last longer when you don’t have it running constantly,” Smith said.

One full-time officer and a part-time officer are currently sharing a vehicle due to a lack of cars.

The department has a 2003 Crown Vic donated from Cullman and a 2001 Chevrolet Tahoe formerly used as the chief’s vehicle that are not in working order.

Smith said that in the coming months, he would like to look into replacing the current fleet with better-quality vehicles. He is also interested in working with the mayor and council to bring some uniformity to the fleet. “Right now, there isn’t a single car out there that matches,” Smith said. “Once you get everything looking the same, when you see a police vehicle you will know it’s Cordova’s.”

Smith presented his first monthly police report to the mayor and council Tuesday night. Officers made 10 arrests and took 65 incident reports between Nov. 1 and Dec. 4.

The arrests were as follows: possession of drug paraphernalia, 2; possession of a controlled substance, 2; theft of property, 3; domestic violence, 2; and possession of a prescription medication, 1.

The most reports taken were for theft of property, 16, and dog complaints, 7.

Smith also announced during Tuesday’s meeting that he has established a progressive discipline policy and procedure as well as a reserve program policy and procedure for the department.

He added that his department is in the process of organizing its outstanding warrants.

“Right now, Cordova has a little over $1 million in outstanding warrants that have not been served,” Smith said.

Council member Bradley Grace expressed his appreciation for a detailed written report on the police department. Smith said he is willing to add any further information to the report that the mayor and council desire.