New black-and-whites entering the Havre police fleet
June 17, 2009
Tim Leeds Havre Daily News [email protected]
Havreites soon will see an old look on some new cars which will be used by Havre police officers patrolling the streets. “We're really excited, the department and staff, getting back to the traditional police cruiser,” said Havre Police Chief Jerry Nystrom. The final work putting on decals and finishing the preparatory work is being done on three 2009 Chevrolet Impalas which are being rotated into the Havre Police Department's fleet of cars. The cars are painted in the traditional black-and-white colors of a police cruiser. Along with the other cars in the fleet, the new cars will be equipped with video cameras to record what the officers see while patrolling and while making stops. Nystrom said the new cars are expected to be on the street by the week of July 6, when the new cameras will be installed. The three cars cost the department about $70,000. Nystrom said the department budgets to rotate in new cars every two to three years as the existing vehicles age. The Havre department is using six patrol vehiCles, he said. The oldest cars in the fleet now are a 2002 and two 2003 models, all with high levels of mileage for an emergency vehicle. “They're pushing upwards of 90,000, and it's a hard 90,000,” Nystrom said. “It gets to the point where they are unsafe to drive as emergency vehicles.” Nystrom said officers have to be sure, when they respond to an emergency call, that they have a vehicle that will get them to the emergency. It also becomes more expensive to take care of the cars as they age, especially with the hard usage the vehicles are exposed to. “As they get older, the maintenance starts to nickel and dime you to death,” Nystrom said. He said the department worked with General Motors and Kerr Industries, a company that installs specialty equipment for Chevrolet police vehicles, to purchase the new Impalas. The department often has to install specialty equipment such as the cage separating the back seat from the front to hold people being detained, Nystrom said. With these cars, Kerr did that work. “They arrived painted black and white and with the cage installed,” Nystrom said. The department did have to make some final additions, such as installing radios and having the local markings put on the vehicles. Floren's Hill County Printing is working this week to put the decals on the vehicles. Nystrom said the department also applied for funding through the federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to purchase a fourth vehicle, but that grant was no t approved. The department also has applied for funding to increase its staff through the COPS program through the federal stimulus legislation, but will not hear the results of that application until probably August, Nystrom said.