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Police in pickups, coming soon
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MONROE - Detectives from Monroe Police Department will soon be pulling up to crime scenes in a Dodge Ram 1500 - marketed as "a pickup truck for every job" - rather than their traditional cars or minivans.

Two of the Dodge Ram pickups will be coming into the department's vehicle rotation this spring, with a 2006 Dodge minivan and 2006 Chevy Impala, both of which will be traded in, being pushed off the bottom of the list.

The Public Safety Committee authorized the scheduled replacement purchases Monday, Jan. 20. The costs are budgeted in the police department's capital replacement account.

Police Chief Fred Kelley said the 4x4 trucks with crew cabs are being recommended instead of any type of van this year, because they are cheaper to buy and will be more useful.

The price for the pickups is lower than for SUVs right now, Kelley said.

Each pickup is being purchased for $23,650 - the same price the city would pay to purchase the units through the state purchasing program. Kelley said Dearth Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Monroe agreed to sell the same vehicles for the same low-bid, state price. The police department will also receive $5,500 for the two trade-ins.

Kelley said the pickups will be better able to haul bulky items that need to be brought in for evidence or other business. The department has been calling in the Street Department for help in these events.

The pickups also have a greater towing capacity, Kelley added. They will be used to tow the department's Emergency Response Team trailer and other equipment.

The Public Safety Committee also gave a nod to the K-9 squad getting a replacement vehicle. Its 2008 Dodge Charger will be replaced with a 2014 model. Kelley said equipment mounts for the Charger are specific to the vehicle and will fit the new model. The 2014 vehicle will cost $23,000 with $4,400 deducted for the 2008 trade-in.

All the new vehicles will be kept for six or more years.

The Police Department has enough cash in its capital budget to purchase all three vehicles outright, without a lease-to-own or other interest-bearing, purchase agreement.

Because each purchase is under $25,000 and was planned in the 2014 budget, the Public Safety Committee has final approval of the purchases.