Dublin Police Department wants additional cruiser

  • Dublin Police Chief Tim Suokko approached the Select Board on Monday about adding a third police cruiser to the fleet in the upcoming budget cycle. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Friday, August 11, 2017 10:24AM

Dublin’s police chief is hoping to add a third police cruiser to his fleet in the next budget cycle. 

Police Chief Tim Suokko told the Selectmen Monday that replacing one of the department’s police cruisers is overdue by one year, according to the current replacement cycle (seven years for the chief’s car and four years for the other car).

Rather than decommissioning the second unit, Suokko is proposing that the department hold onto the car and still purchase a new police cruiser, adding a car to the fleet.

“We currently have two vehicles: one used by me, and the other is shared by five people,” said Suokko, during the Selectmen’s meeting on Monday. “I think in the long term this will more than pay for itself.”

Having only two cruisers creates several scheduling conflicts for the department, according to Suokko, and creates many missed opportunities for revenue in the way of details.

A third vehicle would allow the department to take more details, assign a car to each full-time officer — currently officers have to drive to the station in an emergency to pick up the cruiser, which increases response times — and lessen the burden on the second vehicle, which is currently used by two full-time and three part-time officers. 

Suokko said he would also like to change the replacement cycle for the police cruisers, putting all cars on a six-year cycle. Suokko proposed that the town would buy a cruiser three years in a row, then have three years off.

Doing this would increase the life of the second and third cruiser as those two vehicles wouldn’t have to be run constantly as the second vehicle currently is. Suokko said he would like to reduce the replacement cycle of his vehicle by a year, as he has conducted to a lot more motor vehicle stops than the previous chief: 428 motor vehicle stops in his first year compared to 52 for the previous chief’s tenure of about two and a half years.

“It’s not a dig at the previous chief, it’s just a statistic to show that the car is getting a lot more use,” said Suokko. 

The Selectmen discussed the financials of adding a third car to the fleet, telling Suokko that he needed to prepare to explain the need to the Budget Committee and the voters.

The Selectmen also said it would have to be determined how much more the town would need to save per year into the police cruiser capital reserve fund to make a third cruiser work. 

“Right now, we are putting $15,000 per year into the CIP [capital improvement plan],” said Selectman Dale Gabel. “The amount in the CIP is inadequate.”

Fully outfitted, Suokko said a cruiser is about $40,000 to $45,000, but the amount the town would have to spend would likely be less than that, as much of the technology in each car can be transferred. 

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.