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Rincon City Council OKs purchase of Tahoe for K-9 Unit
Lt. Jonathan Murrell
Interim Police Chief Jonathan Murrell speaks during the Sept. 23 meeting of the Rincon City Council. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

RINCON — The Rincon City Council has injected some new life into the Rincon Police Department’s “tired fleet.”

During its Sept. 23 meeting, the council approved the purchase of a 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe and related equipment at a cost of $48,611.09.

Prior to the approval of the measure, Interim Police Chief Jonathan Murrell discussed the number and condition of vehicles in his department.

“We have a tired fleet,” he said.

Some police vehicles are nearly 12 years old. He said 2010 and 2013 Dodge Chargers have been especially problematic.

“We are kind of on the back end of a purchase that was made in 2010 of eight vehicles at one time,” he said. “This is no new news but in the past couple of years we we’ve really been hit heavy on maintenance costs on the 2010 Chargers”

Murrell said that he has a plan for vehicle purchases that would allow for rotating police cars out of service in a timely fashion, thereby spreading the cost over several years. The department didn’t buy any cars in 2018, he said.

“If we can purchase two cars this year, three cars the following year and two thereafter, by the end of 2020 or 2021 I think we will be in a much better place for lower maintenance costs on our fleet,” he said.

Murrell said the department has 10 vehicles available to be auctioned to help offset the cost of new purchases. Most of them are Chargers from 2008 to 2013.

 “Two of them are approaching 120,000-130,000 miles and they’ve been major expensive,” Murrell said. “One of them that appears to be in good condition has had overheating issues and they cannot trace (the cause) down.”

The vehicles available for auction include four that were seized by that department.

“I’m proposing to purchase the 2020 Tahoe for K-9,” Murrell said. “K-9’s fleet currently consists of three vehicles. One is a 2000 (Ford) Crown Vic(toria), one is a 2011 Charger and one is 2016 Charger. The Crown Vic is currently their spare so if one of their primary vehicles goes down they still have something to operate with.

“A K-9 vehicle is specific for K-9 because it has a cage in the back and has safety equipment for the dogs and that kind of thing.”

One of the K-9 officer’s vehicles, a 2016 Charger, recently blew its radiator and the unit’s spare had a similar problem.

“It is my firm belief that they need a solid K-9 spare,” Murrell said.

The Tahoe purchase will allow for K-9 to shift a reliable car into a spare role. 

The chief said the Tahoe is more cost effective for K-9 than a Dodge Durango or Ford Explorer. The Tahoe alone cost $33,053.