December 20, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria favors SUVs over traditional police cruisers

The Elyria Police Department is slowly moving away from cars in favor of more durable SUVs. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

The Elyria Police Department is slowly moving away from cars in favor of more durable SUVs. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

ELYRIA — Police Department cars are becoming a thing of the past as the city is embracing larger sport utility vehicles as the vehicle of choice.

The city has 12 Chevy Tahoes in its police fleet and is looking to add seven more SUVs as well as two Chevy Equinox trucks and three Chevy Malibu sedans.

Police Chief Duane Whitely made the request for the funding Monday during the City Council Finance Meeting.

Roughly $160,000 would come from the department’s general fund and another $210,000 would come from the police levy fund.

The request comes in advance of the city’s annual budget discussions.

City Finance Director Ted Pileski said a temporary budget will be in place for the first three months of the year while Council and the administration work out the 2014 permanent budget.

This request, while early, will be included in that final budget.

Whitely said the department does not buy cars as frequently as other departments and will typically drive a car until it can no longer be repaired.

It has been known to keep cars as long as 14 years, which is unheard of in law enforcement, he said.

In choosing the Tahoe, Whitely said the vehicles offer many advantages including space, trunk room, durability, ground clearance, lower repair cost and officer safety.

The Tahoes will serve as marked police cruisers while the other vehicles will be used by undercover officers and detectives.

Committee Chairman and Councilman Vic Stewart, D-at large, said the department does a good job of working with the city’s Central Maintenance Garage to maintain its fleet, but the city also has to do its job of equipping the department with the right tools to do the job.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.