The Ripon Police Department took delivery Tuesday of two replacement vehicles for its fleet of 23 squad cars. One is a Ford SUV pursuit vehicle with independent wheel suspension and an engine package. The second is a four door police interceptor the department purchased on a CHP contract in Folsom.
The department has not purchased a new vehicle since 2007 – nearly seven years ago.
Chief Ed Ormonde explained that the department purchased a used 2009 patrol car in 2012 when they were still dealing with more stringent budget reductions regarding replacement vehicles. The CHP recently added the same SUVs to their statewide fleet with a training officer noting the vehicle handles surprisingly well. In fact when driving it in reverse it can negotiate a 180-degree turn at 40 miles an hour without rolling over, she said.
Ormonde said he saved some $15,000 in the outfitting of the vehicles with a former cost of $23,000 per unit when using a different company.
“Instead of getting a keyboard and a computer, we are using a PC tablet that can also take pictures and be used by officers to write a report when out in the field,” he said.
The chief said it can also double as a camera when an officer is in need. Some of the older equipment that had been installed on the older vehicles was discarded because of added installation costs and questionable needs.
Retired Police Chief Red Nutt was also on hand Tuesday to look over the new vehicles. As he sat in the driver’s seat of the pursuit interceptor, he noted that the car was a little short of head room compared to the Fords he once drove around the community.
The SUV with its artistic new decals is being assigned to Sgt. Don Luthey and the equally modern looking pursuit vehicle is going to Officer Ken Husman, the chief noted.
Ripon Police officers have been urged to take their units home and park them in front of their homes and to use them to go shopping in the community to provide a high profile of police presence throughout the community even when they are off duty. Officers continued to take their vehicles home even during the recession benefitting from an older fleet.
Officers gathered around the two vehicles in their back parking lot after they were driven from the Sacramento area by officers earlier in the morning. They wanted to get a feel for the new cars and be checked out on the expected operation. One new addition is the truck horn that literally vibrates when officers move through traffic such as in a freeway emergency situation.
The new vehicles were parked out in front of City Hall Tuesday night for the inspection of the City Council and the citizens attending that meeting.