The Covington Police Department received 19 new Dodge Chargers Monday to complete its patrol fleet. With this added number, a patrol vehicle is assigned to each sworn officer. (Special photo)
COVINGTON — The Covington Police Department cranked up 19 new patrol cars Monday, which now completes the department’s fleet and assigns a vehicle to each sworn officer.
Police Chief Stacey Cotton said the purchase of the 2014 Dodge Chargers, along with eight that were delivered in February 2013, will save the city money as well as serve as an added incentive when recruiting new officers to the force.
Until Monday, the patrol cars never went out of service. In other words, when one officer went off his shift, he removed his equipment and personal items from the vehicle and the next officer coming on for his shift got in the same car.
Now, officers are able to take their patrol cars home, where they will sit unused until their next shift or in the event of an emergency where the officer may need to respond to a situation quickly.
Some of the older Crown Victorias are still assigned to officers, but as those vehicles get older, they will also be rotated out of service and replaced with newer patrol cars, Cotton said.
“These cars should last five, six or seven years,” he said. “This will be a money-saving move.”
The city of Covington allocated approximately $800,000 for the fully equipped Chargers out of the general fund.
The eight received last year were purchased using forfeited funds, Cotton said.
“I just want to thank the mayor and City Council and the city manager for getting behind this,” the chief said. “This is a huge recruitment tool for us and a great way to save money in the long run. Having vehicles for each of our sworn officers allows us the ability to deploy people out in case of emergency and get the people we need to the scene.”
He said the Covington Police Department was one of the few metro agencies that did not have an assigned vehicle to each of its officers.
“We can now really compete on the same level with salary, benefits and equipment,” Cotton said.