Spring Hill defers patrol car purchase, affirms GM partnership

The Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Alderman pulled an agenda item Monday that could have explored purchasing police patrol cars not manufactured by General Motors.

The BOMA also passed a resolution reaffirming the city’s partnership with GM.

“The resolution is to reaffirm the city’s desired partnership between the city and GM related to the police fleet, and to encourage the development of additional police vehicle options,” Alderman Matt Fitterer said.

The police department was budgeted nearly $500,000 this year for nine new cars, which the SHPD through its partnership with GM planned to use to buy Caprices outfitted for patrol. But because GM announced since the budget passed that Caprices will no longer be produced for patrol, the department was left with two options.

Their choices were to either wait from six months up to a year to receive Caprices being manufactured in Australia, or pursue other options outside GM.

Either way, GM will no longer be manufacturing a for-patrol vehicle as of the end of 2016. Though, it will produce an administrative sedan and a Chevrolet Tahoe option.

If that turns out to be so with a certainty, despite the reaffirmed partnership, the city will have to look elsewhere.

“If adequate police vehicles were not available through GM, the city would assess the best course for the city at that time,” Fitterer said.

Instead of deciding now, the city essentially punted the issue to December, giving it more time to gain more information about the best way to fill its needs.

According to SHPD Chief Don Brite, his department usually cycles out a patrol car after about 130,000 miles, which is a bit longer life than the national average of municipal police departments.

In the meantime, Brite said his department is converting two administration cars back into patrol.

The Board of Mayor and Alderman also approved on Monday the purchase of two cars for administration to replace the two it will lose back to patrol, a Chevrolet Traverse and a Chevrolet truck. The model was not specified and will cost $55,921.

As for the seven cars yet to be purchased, which were budgeted to already be on the street by now, the city and police department will use the extra few weeks to see about somehow getting GM models quickly.

“We will discuss the situation at the December meeting,” Brite said. “If we can get the Caprices on time to put in the reserve fleet those would not be brought back out because of their high mileage.”