Derby police car_passenger side_color.jpg

A typical police vehicle has a tough life, often involved in a lot of quick pursuits, frequently idling for long periods and, once in a while, having a suspect crash into it.

With that rough ride in mind, the City Council approved the 2020 vehicle replacement plan for the police with five new vehicles. All of the current 2015 model vehicles have more than 100,000 miles on them, except for one, which was deemed a near total loss after a suspect crashed a trailer into it.

Three dealerships submitted bids for the 2020 Ford Police Interceptor all-wheel drive vehicles equipped with cages, light bars, dual weapon mounts and consoles.

The winning bid for the purchase of the vehicles is from Rusty Eck Ford at a cost of $222,985. That is $31,515 under the budget amount of $254,500. The offer was recommended by the city’s Bid Board last month.

The model is currently the top-selling police vehicle in the nation, said Police Chief Robert Lee. It was the Crown Vic car, also made by Ford, but that model was discontinued and this one has taken over.

There are other police vehicle makers and some departments are using pickups, but Lee is pleased with this model’s performance.

He said the vehicle “meets our needs,” as it has the room, special suspension and heavy-duty brakes. The higher field of view from an SUV also helps, he said.

Derby’s department switched from cars to SUVs about six years ago.

The current vehicles will be sold after the new ones are delivered.

In another move for the police, the council approved a request for eight mobile computer terminals for patrol cars, which are due to be replaced every five years.

The terminals “are an essential part of the equipment in police patrol cars,” said Deputy Police Chief Brandon Russell.

With them, officers receive information regarding calls for service they are responding to, and run drivers’ license, tag, and warrant information, he said.

They also communicate with other agencies with the terminals.

Russell said officers tested different makes and models of computers and decided on the Panasonic CF55 as best meeting their needs.

The department received three bids for the equipment and the lowest bid was $23,624 from CDWG.

The 2020 budget includes $24,000 for the purchase, so the bid was $376 under the budget. The other two bids were both more than $24,000.

Improvements for animal control

Also under police supervision is the animal control vehicle. A new transportation unit for the vehicle was approved in the 2020 budget to replace the “deteriorated” 2006 unit.

“A new unit will improve safety for the animal control officer by lowering the height the animal has to be lifted, thus not placing animals as close to the animal control officer’s face,” Russell said in his report to the council.

In addition, the unit will improve safety for animals by allowing temperature control. The current unit does not have that. It also will be easier to maintain and clean than what the city has now, he said.

There was only one bid on the project, which was $18,725 from Custom Fiberglass Coaches. That is $1,225 more than the budgeted amount of $17,500, but does include emergency lighting.

Russell said the difference between the budgeted amount and the cost will be offset by savings on other equipment purchases.

The vehicle will be taken to the manufacturer in Lake City, Iowa, for the unit to be installed.

“By doing this, the unit will have factory-installed lighting and will be installed at the factory by their trained personnel rather than finding after-market lighting and an installer in our area that would not be as familiar with the unit,” Russell said.

Derby’s animal control officers returned 261 pets to their owners and transported 64 animals to the Wichita animal shelter in 2018.

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