Council OKs lease of police patrol unit

Sean C. Morgan

The Sweet Home City Council last week authorized Police Chief Jeff Lynn to lease a new patrol vehicle, a 2017 Ford Interceptor SUV.

Present and voting to approve the lease were Susan Coleman, Lisa Gourley, Mayor Greg Mahler, Dave Trask, James Goble and Diane Gerson during the council’s regular meeting on Aug. 8.

Lynn said the Police Department hasn’t replaced any patrol vehicles since 2013, when three were totaled during the pursuit of a suspect in the area of 3rd and 4th avenues south of Highway 228. Insurance replaced those vehicles.

When the three vehicles were totaled, it disrupted the department’s regular replacement cycle, Lynn said.

In 2010, the council authorized the department to begin leasing new patrol vehicles with the option to purchase them for $1 after three years of payments.

The new vehicle will cost the city $13,496 annually over the next three years from Leasing Specialists, LLC. The city budgeted $26,000 in fiscal 2017-18 to lease up to two vehicles.

“Ideally, this lease would allow us to update our fleet to be safer, more dependable and ideally, lower maintenance costs,” Lynn said. All seven of the department’s marked patrol vehicles are at 83,000 to 123,000 miles.

A 2013 Ford Interceptor was totaled earlier this year in a crash, and the vehicle will be replaced by insurance.

The department will remove a 2006 Impala, with 123,000 miles, used by the school resource officer, from its patrol fleet.

The department will likely move a 2013 Dodge Charger, with 111,000 miles, the next highest mileage, from patrol to the SRO, Lynn said.

The department has two additional Chargers, a 1999 with 99,000 miles and a 2013 with 85,000 miles, used for patrol. The two sergeants use a pair of 2010 Ford Crown Victoria patrol cars, one with 105,000 miles, the other with 83,000 miles.

The council also held a third reading and adopted an ordinance granting a non-exclusive gas utility franchise to Northwest Natural Gas Company. The 10-year franchise permits Northwest Natural to construct, maintain and operate its gas utility in Sweet Home.

Councilor Ryan Underwood officially resigned by letter, effective July 31.

“I have truly enjoyed my time on the council, but with the significant life changes that are happening in the Underwood household, I have no choice but to vacate my seat,” Underwood said in the letter.

The council will determine how to fill the vacant seat at its next regular meeting, 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 22 in the City Council Chamber, City Hall Annex, 1140 12th Ave.