By Don Nelson
Winthrop’s new police vehicles — and they are new, not used — will be in town this week, according to Marshal Rikki Schwab.
The marshal had earlier told the Town Council that she was looking into buying two used vehicles to replace the aging, unreliable SUVs the department now has.
At last week’s council meeting, Schwab said that she had done more research and found additional funds in her current-year’s budget to pay for two brand-new vehicles with money left over.
Schwab said she is purchasing two 2014 Chevrolet crew cab pickups with four-wheel drive, for a total cost of $72,753 including transferring existing equipment and buying new equipment. The trucks cost about $30,000 each, she said. The town will have money left over to begin building a fund to purchase a third vehicle, Schwab said. She said the town may be able to get a grant to help buy the third vehicle.
Funding will come from money allotted for a new vehicle in this year’s budget, plus salary savings from operating with less than a full complement of officers.
Council member Mike Strulic, who earlier voiced concerns about the type of vehicle Schwab recommended, said last week that he was pleased with the marshal’s solution.
“Thanks for going the extra mile,” Strulic told Schwab. “I’m very happy that they [the vehicles] are new.”
The Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office uses similar crew cab pickups. Schwab said that the trucks’ beds can be secured with a locked, hard cover, the same way as the sheriff’s office vehicles.
Schwab said the new trucks come with full warranties and that she will keep up regular maintenance.
Schwab said that the town will probably be able to sell the Ford Explorer and Chevrolet Tahoe police vehicles that her department has been using.