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City Buys More Police Cars

Several Columbus city council members held a press briefing Monday with one of 42 new police cars as a backdrop. Monday night the council approved the purchase of another 20 cruisers as replacements for its aging fleet.

Delivery of the already purchased 42 Ford Police Interceptors should be completed by next month - part of $3.5 million package that also includes motorcycles, prisoner transport vans, and unmarked cars. Monday night's $688,000 authorization allows the purchase of 20 more patrol cars. Councilman Andrew Ginther says the replacements are long overdue.

"In the earlier part of this decade when revenue was down and there was a very tough financial situation, we had to put off a lot of investments in our fleet for our police and fire division," Ginther says. "And it's time for us to make up and catch up and make the appropriate investments to make sure our officers have what they need to protect our neighborhoods."

The commander of the police division's Technical Services Bureau Mike Springer says a committee of officers developed a list of specifications for the new cars. One improvement, Springer says, is an easily removable computer.

"Before, the computer was hard-wired into that car," Springer says. "So if that car was taken out of service that computer was taken out of service. What's nice about these cars is that they come with detachable mobile computers. They'll have a docking station so that if you lay one of these cars in all you have to do is pull the computer out, unplug it, go to the next car plug it in and you're back in business."

Springer says 160 marked and unmarked cars in the police division's 1,000 vehicle fleet have been scraped this year. 375 marked police cars cruise the streets of Columbus.