DeSoto Co. may no longer be able to buy used squad cars - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

DeSoto Co. may no longer be able to buy used squad cars

(WMC-TV) - When it comes to squad cars in the past, the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department opted to save the taxpayers some cash by buying used cars instead of new SUVs. But soon, the department will be forced to rethink its strategy.

If you have ever been pulled over by a sheriff's deputy in DeSoto County, chances are good you have seen the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor.

"The Crown Victoria has been a mainstay in law enforcement for years," said Chief Deputy Macon Moore.

But the popular squad car is no longer being made, forcing the department to consider a costly switch.

"It's going to really hurt our budget to not be able to buy the Crown Vics that we've been able to buy from the Missouri Highway Patrol," said Moore.

Chief Deputy Moore said the department has been buying the cars used for years. When they come to DeSoto County, they have about 50,000 miles on them. Doing this saved taxpayers about $10,000 per car compared to a new Chevrolet Tahoe, which is currently used for K9s.

"The officers seem to like the SUVs better," said Moore. "A little more room, they feel a lot safer."

On top of the price difference for a new car to replace the Crown Victoria, the department has to consider the cost of accessories. The lights cost about $2,000 to mount on a different car. And the $600 cage guard won't fit any other vehicle. It all adds up.

"With not having to purchase equipment from one vehicle to the next, we save an additional $3,000 to $5,000," said Moore.

It appears the department will be able to buy about 20 more used cars from the Missouri Highway Patrol until leaders have to decide how to fit new cars into the budget.

"We're spending the taxpayer's money so we're trying to be as cautious as possible," he added.

Chief Deputy Moore said there may be one small batch of used Crown Victorias but anticipates having to switch fleet vehicles sometime in 2014.

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