Janesville police getting help with snow patrol
The Janesville Police Department vehicle fleet includes:
Marked patrol cars: 16
Unmarked cars for detectives and the street crimes unit: 7
Marked patrol cars assigned to schools: 5
Undercover vehicles: 3
Marked patrol cars assigned to officers with police dogs: 2
Administrative cars: 1
Pickup trucks: 1
Sport utility vehicles: 1
JANESVILLE In winters past, snowstorms left Janesville police officers scrambling for vehicles that could punch through drifts on unplowed streets.
They sometimes borrowed four-wheel-drive vehicles from the public works department or drove their personal trucks or SUVs.
But, the borrowed vehicles weren’t marked as police vehicles or equipped with emergency lights and other police equipment. The police department later got magnetic decals and portable light bars for use with borrowed vehicles, Chief Dave Moore said.
“We’ve experienced some very heavy snow over the last few years,” he said. “It got to the point with some of those snowstorms that our patrol fleet was really unable to access all areas of the city.”
This winter, the police department will have a new tool on snow days: a sport utility vehicle.
A 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe will be equipped as a patrol vehicle, the first SUV in the department’s fleet. The other patrol cars are Chevrolet Impalas.
The department typically buys eight squad cars a year. This year, it will purchase seven Impalas and the Tahoe, Moore said.
The Impalas cost $21,300 before they’re installed with police equipment, compared to $30,800 for the Tahoe, he said.
The Tahoe will be assigned to patrol supervisors who don’t drive as much, saving gas mileage, Moore said.
A patrol officer’s car averages 60,000 miles a year, compared to 25,000 miles a year for a supervisor’s car, he said. The department estimates it will cost $1,000 more a year to fuel the Tahoe compared to the Impalas.
The Tahoe will improve the department’s ability to respond in snowstorms and will be used to carry equipment needed in the field, Moore said.
“With the purchase of the Tahoe, we’ll better be able to provide for citizens,” he said.
The only other four-wheel-drive vehicle the department has is a pickup truck used to tow the SWAT trailer. The truck also has been used on patrol when needed.
The Tahoe was not made in Janesville.
“It’s ironic that the year Janesville no longer makes the Tahoe, the Janesville Police Department obtains one,” Moore said.