ILION — The Ilion Police Department will be getting a new vehicle.
The village board voted during a meeting Wednesday to approve the purchase of a new sport-utility vehicle for the department at a cost not to exceed $45,000.
Police Chief Timothy Parisi said the floor board of the department’s Car 101, a Crown Victoria, has given way and the vehicle is beyond repair.
He said if the village purchases a new SUV now, payments will not begin until next year’s budget goes into effect.
He estimated the new SUV would cost between $34,000 and $35,000, with the lighting and equipment adding another $10,000 to the total.
Board members asked if the department could purchase a sedan instead of an SUV, but Parisi said the SUVs hold up better with fewer repairs.
Mayor Terry Leonard said he had discussed the matter with Parisi.
"He’s convinced me that the Chevy Tahoe is a better investment in the long run," he said.
Village Trustee Joanne Moore pointed out the state police use sedans.
"They have SUVs too," said Parisi.
He added the SUVs the police purchase are not the same as the ones a private citizen would purchase.
"They’re not plush," Parisi said.
The chief also said repairs totaling between $1,500 and $2,000 would put another of the department’s vehicles back on the road. He plans to look for an opportunity to trade another vehicle in and purchase a used one in its place.
Trustee Bridget McKinley asked if the department could add a bicycle patrol that could operate in good weather.
Parisi said the department doesn’t have enough officers on the street to run a bike patrol. He added if a bike patrol officer had to be called to provide backup on a call, "it could be difficult if he had to go back up Second Street."
Trustee Fred Hartmann said he usually sees police vehicles parked in the village lot. He asked how many officers are out with cars at any one time.
Parisi said two or three cars are out, although the number could go up to four in some situations.
"If you send two vehicles out at a time, three are sitting there," said Hartmann.
"When we have a major incident, sometimes we have to juggle transportation," said Parisi. "There are times we run out of cars."
He said cars are sometimes awaiting repairs and noted that running all of the vehicles constantly would drive up repair costs. He added that generally the cars are used at some point during the day.
Leonard said when the new vehicle arrives and another one repaired, the department should have three reliable Tahoes to use. He hopes to begin purchasing police vehicles on a two-year cycle.