Soldotna purchases police vehicles for long-term fleet plan

The city of Soldotna purchased two police interceptors for its fleet. The Ford Explorer Police Vehicles were purchased in alignment with a long-term plan to replace the Soldotna Police Department’s current rear-wheel drive fleet with all-wheel drive vehicles.

Kendall Ford in Wasilla was awarded the contract for about $55,000 total. The price was budgeted for the 2015 Fiscal Year Operating Budget, according to the resolution.

The original timeline was to replace one of the cars this budget year, said City Manager Mark Dixson. However, the schedule was increased to two through the operating budget so the department could to upgrade its fleet faster.

Soldotna municipal code requires the city to either enter a purchase contract through its own bid process or it may purchase through the State Contracts process available through the State of Alaska Department of General Services, Dixson said. The state process will locate the lowest bid 99 times out of 100, he said.

The State of Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, State Equipment Fleet website maintains a list of competitive prices for city vehicles, according to the resolution.

Quotes were also received from local businesses, according to a memo from Soldotna Chief of Police Peter Mlynarik.

“As a courtesy I requested a quote for the same vehicle with the same specifications for Stanley Ford, our local Ford dealer,” Mlynarik said. “Their quote came back as $33,270 each.”

The vehicles scheduled to be replaced will be assessed and, depending on their condition, will either be transferred and utilized in other departments, or auctioned off through a Kenai Peninsula Borough public auction this fall, Dixson said.

Soldotna Maintenance Manager Scott Sundberg said the state now has 180 days to deliver the ordered vehicles to Anchorage. Two Ford Explorers the city purchased last year were put into service in mid-spring, which is likely when the new ones will be ready for use in 2015, he said.

Currently the Soldotna Police Department has 13 vehicles, Sundberg said. Eleven are rear-wheel drive, and will eventually be replaced by all-wheel drive vehicles.

The Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors, and the Ford Expedition Police Interceptors, which make up most of the current fleet, have worked well for the city, Sundberg said. However, Police Chief Mlynarik wanted his staff to have access to vehicles that are safer and better suited for the terrain and icy roads common on the Kenai Peninsula.

The new cars have better impact bracing in the event of a wreck, and better brakes suited for high speeds or the need for a quick stop, Sandberg.

“So far they are working great.”

Kelly Sullivan can be reached at kelly.sullivan@peninsulaclarion.com.

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