Oregon approves purchase of vehicles for police division

Kelly J. Kaczala

        Oregon City Council on Monday approved the purchase of four vehicles for the police division.
        Some of the vehicles were purchased from a local dealership, while others were bought outside the city.
        Council approved purchase orders for the following vehicles:
        • Two 2020 Ford Interceptor SUV vehicles purchased from Mathews Ford Oregon for a total cost of $69,707.06, less trade-in credit of $13,775 of five vehicles, for a total net cost of $55,932.
        “The state contract, minus the five trade-ins was $54,334,” said Police Chief Mike Navarre. “Mathews Ford gave us a price of $55,932, the difference of about $1,600. We felt this was a minimal amount to avoid having to send five officers to Lebanon, Ohio for the day to pick up the cars. Plus, Mathews is an Oregon dealer, and I like doing business with an Oregon dealer. In the past, this council has been OK with that. It cost us a little bit more money, but I think in the long run, it’s the right thing to do.”
        •A 2020 unmarked Chevrolet Malibu from Ganley Chevrolet of Aurora LLC, 310 West Garfield, Aurora, Ohio at a cost of $17,868.36.  Ganley Chevrolet is the current State of Ohio Contract vendor for the vehicle and provided the overall low quote for the purchase.
        “It’s very difficult for local businesses to compete with the state contract,” said Navarre. “The state contract dealers buy in such high volume and get a much bigger discount. We talked to Dunn Chevy and the best price they could give us was $1,500 more than purchasing from the state contractor in Aurora, Ohio, which is outside of Cleveland. We told him we would probably go with the state contractor because it was just one vehicle. And $1,500 is a significant amount of money for one vehicle.”
        •A 2020 Dodge Durango from Sherry Chrysler, Piqua, Ohio, for a total price of $26,897, less trade-in of a vehicle for $8,500, for a total net cost of $18,397. Sherry Chrysler is the current State of Ohio Contract vendor for this vehicle. Navarre recommended the state vendor because “there is nobody local who sells Dodge Durangos in the City of Oregon.”
        City council provided funding in the 2020 budget for the acquisition of police vehicles.
        “The dollars came in below budget, which is good. And we’re downsizing our fleet because we’re getting four new vehicles and we’re giving up a total of six,” said Navarre.
Durango alternatives
        Councilman Terry Reeves asked Navarre if there was a comparable vehicle to the Dodge Durango that would have been available from a local dealership.
        “I’m sure there are,” said Navarre. “For whatever reason, the officers wanted the Durango. Officers are very, very particular about the vehicles they want. I know it’s unusual that we’re coming before you with one ordinance asking for Fords, another ordinance asking for a Chevy, and a third ordinance asking for  a Dodge Durango. There are very specific reasons why they want a Durango.”
        Mayor Mike Seferian said a comparable vehicle to the Dodge Durango would be a Chevy Tahoe or a GMC Yukon.
        “In the Ford line, they introduced the full sized Bronco again. But until the new Bronco came out, they didn’t have a comparable vehicle. The extended version of the Explorer would be the closest. I don’t know what their intent was with preference on the vehicle. I wasn’t part of the discussion.”
Police preferences
        City Administrator Mike Beazley said he didn’t know the difference between the vehicles.
        “Historically, we try to let the officers who are using the vehicles drive the process,” said Beazley. “We want to rely on them. They really felt like the product in each of these cases was the best. I’m with the mayor and chief, I don’t know the difference between a Tahoe or Durango. But the folks who use it do know the difference and they felt it was a product that would meet their needs.”
        Reeves noted that the city has, in the past, preferred buying from local businesses instead of companies outside of the community.
        “We’ve always tried to go with local dealers like Dunn and Mathews, if we possibly could. But going with the Durango – I’m not against it. I just don’t know the difference,” said Reeves.
        The Durango replaces a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee that had a lot of mileage, said Navarre.
        “The Durango is a little bit bigger than the Grand Cherokee,” said Navarre.
        Councilman Tim Zale, a retired police officer from the Oregon Police Division, said council shouldn’t pass over the Durango since the price isn’t that different from other SUVS purchased by the Division.
        “If you look at the price of the vehicle compared to what we pay for any other type of SUV, we aren’t paying more money. When I first saw it, I thought, `Why are we paying for a Dodge?’ But it doesn’t really matter. It’s going to give them more space to carry more equipment. When the day is done, we wouldn’t pay any more for this vehicle than we would if we went with a Chevy or Ford,” said Zale.
        Seferian said the city will look into the matter at the next budget hearing at the end of the year.
        “We’ll spend more time addressing it. Maybe we’ll scrutinize it a little more,” said Seferian.
        Navarre noted that the marked fleet for the road patrol will be the SUV Interceptor.
        “The supervisors use the Chevy Tahoe because they’re a little bit bigger and you can put more equipment back there. That’s what the sergeants wanted,” said Navarre.


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