Bellows Falls Trustees discuss Police Department vehicle purchase

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – On Tuesday, May 11, the Bellows Falls Village Trustees discussed the purchase of a new vehicle for the Bellows Falls Police Department. Municipal Manager Scott Pickup described issues with the BFPD fleet and that the 2017 Ford Explorer needed to be replaced.

Chief David Bemis said a new vehicle with 192 miles on it was purchased and waiting to be outfitted. He explained that the radios and lights would be used from the older vehicle but the cage and center console for the radios would not fit in the newer model. When the new cruiser was ready, the 2017 Explorer would be stripped and hopefully go to auction.

Jim Smith, owner of J&M Auto, maintains the fleet and gave advice on the current cruiser. Smith said, “It’s not the mileage so much…it’s the hours,” explaining that the 2017 had 17,959 hours equating it to over 300,000 miles.

He said the current maintenance needs for the 2017 Explorer included a heater assembly, which was labor intensive exhaust work, and oil leaks, totalling $5,800.

Smith suggested it was “time to step away from this particular car” and would not recommend keeping it as a spare. He was afraid a major failure would cost thousands of dollars to fix, admitting, “I benefit from fixing them, but I don’t think this is a good idea to keep this one a lot longer.” Smith noted that the new vehicle was basically the same, but the 2020 should need less maintenance in the future.

Masure asked if there was “Anything we should be considering to improve our maintenance program?”

Smith said the cruisers were now serviced every 3,000 miles with synthetic oil.

Stefan Golec recommended a small carport or Sally port, which is a secure entryway or gate into a fortified place. Golec added that many nights in the winter the cars are “out there idling.” He also wondered if in the winter they could share space with the Fire Department. “[We should] take initiative to do something different to cut the hours down.”

Pickup supported a Sally port for officer safety. He agreed it was a longer term conversation to create additional space. Golec said that could also be a tool to use for securing vehicles.

Village President Deborah Wright discussed the summer schedule, and the board voted to meet once monthly through June, July, and August on the second Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m.

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