The Gulfport Police Department will get three new cars – two powered strictly by gasoline and one hybrid car.
At the Jan. 4 meeting, council approved the purchase of three replacement vehicles for the Gulfport Police Department. Council had the option of spending $159,054 on three new gasoline Dodge Charger police vehicles or $175,248 to buy three Ford Police Interceptor Utility Hybrids. Both purchases options include emergency equipment and car video and body cameras.
Council voted 4-1 to instead to buy two Chargers and one of the Ford hybrids, following a motion from Councilmember Paul Ray (Ward III).
“It’s a hybrid version,” he said of the plan.
Ray said other police departments sometimes buy a single hybrid vehicle to see how they performed and meshed with the rest of the fleet.
The department has had a hybrid vehicle before, though.
“We bought one with forfeiture funds back in 2010,” Chief Rob Vincent told The Gabber. A school resource officer, then Officer Zack Mills, later drove the car. “This will be the first ‘patrol’ car that is a hybrid.”
The city will pay for the cars with Penny for Pinellas sales tax monies, and from whatever money it gets from selling the existing police cars.
Councilmember April Thanos (Ward I) said she preferred the police department purchase electric or hybrid vehicles.
“Even though it’s more money I would like us to try the hybrid cars,” Thanos said.
Her push to buy three new hybrid cars failed to get a second motion.
Gulfport Police Chief Robert Vincent did not have a strong preference for the replacement purchases but said the Charger has slightly better performance in terms of pursuits and closing speeds.
“Performance means a lot in this business,” Vincent said.
The city does not yet have a cost for the new purchase option, but the costs, the city says, should remain below the $175,248 cap for the replacement cars.