TAKOMA PARK — The City Council approved a request for replacement police cars Monday, although some members were hesitant.
Council member Kate Stewart questioned whether the purchase of seven replacement vehicles from Apple Ford was necessary and whether the cars would be durable and raised concerns about the time it takes to equip the cars to meet police specifications.
The cost of the cars, covered by funding in the budget, is expected to be $192,132.
“We are short cars now. We have cars ready to be deadlined that are actually falling apart, and we are having to keep them on the road until these cars aren’t on the road,” said Chief of Police for Takoma Park Alan Goldberg.
Goldberg says it takes about a month to receive the cars and another month to outfit them, with the possibility of another month due to competition from other police forces.
He cited Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties as competition for the outfitter, as they all use the same one and those counties buy hundreds of vehicles at a time.
The police department currently has 41 cars.
The department is also considering darkening the cars, following trends in other departments. Goldberg said the department has been considering other methods to change the color such as markings and wraps, which are less expensive than painting.
“I think that there would really need to be a public process about if people like the cars or don’t like the cars or what you want to go to, and I just see that taking a while,” said City Manager Suzanne Ludlow.” “And so for this particular purchase I think we should move forward, even knowing that there would be interest in looking at the subject.”
Stewart brought up an additional concern about changing the colors of police vehicles, noting the vibe the darker colors might give off.
“It’s not in any of the research I’ve done in terms of creating an approachable police force,” said Stewart.