Police Chief Jane Moran told selectmen earlier this month that her department needs an additional police cruiser to keep up with the changing demands of their work. She had plans to retire two cruisers when replacements arrived this fall, but instead asked selectmen to approve keeping one of the older vehicles on the road.
The police force is slated to get two new cruisers later this fall thanks to a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) donation from St. Mark’s and Fay School. The new cruisers were to replace two older ones currently in use.
But Moran told selectmen the demand for cruisers has increased. The anticipated closing of Worcester District Court means officers will have to travel a farther distance to Worcester to handle their court responsibilities.
She also said companies who hire the department to do detail work are increasingly requesting cruisers be present, especially when working along Route 9.
“It’s a safety issue,” Moran said. “It’s a need that wasn’t really foreseen before.”
Moran said instead of trading in two patrol cruisers this year, she would like to keep one with 73K miles on the road to be used exclusively for detail work and to travel back and forth to court. Moran said the trade-in value of the cruiser would be around $500.
Selectman John Rooney said he was in favor of the proposal because the trade-in value is so low, and because the cruiser would be used only intermittently.
The board voted unanimously to allow the cruiser to remain in service, but not before Selectman Bill Boland expressed some concern about the growing size of the fleet. “It seems like we have a big fleet for the size of the department,” he said.
“I can honestly say we use each and every one of them,” Moran replied.
The selectmen’s decision will increase the number of cruisers in service from eight to nine.
The town’s two new cruisers are expected sometime around November. Moran said she had hoped to purchase one of Ford’s new Interceptor models, but a delay in production led her to purchase two Crown Victorias instead.