CPD officers get new patrol vehicles

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Out with the old and in with the new. Thirty four new patrol cars that is.

City of Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott introduced new crime fighting tools. Each equipped with Automatic Vehicle Locator or AVL which is said to assist dispatchers and police.

If a call goes out at 1 Justice Square and they will see if there's a car sitting at Assembly and Washington Street, they will automatically be dispatched to that car immediately to the scene, Scott says.

Authorities tell us current response time for life threatening calls averages two minutes but they hope that will soon change. It cost the city $1.2 million for the new cars and equipment.

So how does that affect tax payers? City Manager Steve Gantt says they're using money already in the budget.

"This past year, we set up a capital replacement budget within the general fund in the city budget. We moved 3.8 mills of operating money into that capital replacement fund.

Chief Scott says there are about 112 cars left to replace and over time the changes will actually save the city money.

As you have an older fleet that's more maintenance cost you have to pay for the older fleet over time the vehicles will just cost more the maintenance," Scott adds.

On an annualized basis we will have four and a half to five and a half million dollars a year that will be used for capital replacement of our police cars, fire trucks, garbage trucks any big expensive items that normally would not be paid for on an operating budget. That will be done through short term general obligations bonds that will be paid for by the mileage set a side Gantt explains.