Police Department Expecting 10 Replacement Vehicles

Five vehicles are replacing squad cars damaged during Superstorm Sandy

Nearly $240,000 in new replacement vehicles are coming to the Toms River Police Department's fleet.

Of the 10 purchases recently authorized by the Township Council are five vehicles meant to replace police units damaged during Superstorm Sandy. In total, the department will buy nine 2013 Dodge Chargers and one 2013 Ford Expedition through a state bid at a total cost of $238,835.

Four of the Chargers and the Expedition are replacing units damaged in the storm. Some of the vehicles were totaled by flood waters; in one instance, a tree fell atop a car with an officer inside.

"We're very lucky he didn't get injured," said Chief of Police Michael Mastronardy.

According to the resolution authorizing the purchases, the total cost of the nine Chargers is $210,378, which breaks down to over $23,000 per vehicle; the Expedition costs $28,456.

The department currently maintains a fleet of just over 100 vehicles, with some dating back to model year 1999, Mastronardy said. New vehicles are regularly cycled in; five Chargers were added a few months ago.

"It's a safety issue for the officers out there," Mastronardy said. "But because of preventative maintenance, we're able to keep the cars out there for a long period of time."

It will likely take another $5-6,000 to outfit each Charger with the necessary police equipment, since the department is forced to move on from Ford Crown Victorias — a sedan that is no longer in production. A different interior means items such as plastic seating and caging for the back compartment are no longer compatible.

"All that stuff would fit" from older to newer model Crown Victorias, Mastronardy said. "Now with the Charger, none of the equipment is interchangeable."

It remains unclear how much of the vehicles replacing those damaged during Sandy will be paid for by insurance or FEMA funds, the chief said. An inquiry to the township asking for clarification was not immediately returned. 

Assigning vehicles to officers — something that is done in Toms River but not yet by all on the force — helps to keep them in good condition, as the officer becomes accountable for the car in his or her care. 

"Ultimately we'd like to get to a position where each vehicle is assigned to an officer," Mastronardy said. "We find in the law enforcement community that leads to much more accountability and people will take care of the vehicle."

It remains "too early to tell" if the Chargers will match up to the Crown Victorias as a police vehicle, according to the chief. Numerous police departments throughout the state, including nearby Manchester and Lakehurst, also have brought in the cars.

"We need some more time to make a real evaluation," Mastronardy said. 

But the rear wheel drive featured in the cars — a specification unique to the Charger — should help save on maintenance costs, said police mechanic Bob Jump. 

"A front wheel drive car costs us twice as much in maintenance, just to maintain the front suspension and struts and shocks," he said. "No one else is offering a car with rear wheel drive."

While new cars with better gas mileage have helped to reduce fuel consumption, they also present a new challenge — electronic ignition keys.

"Someone could go home with a [key] fob in their pocket and the car's out of service" until it's returned, Mastronardy said.

Plus, Jump said that he has the ability to make copies of police car keys in-house, something that becomes impossible if an electronic key is required to start a car. Replacements keys would have to made outside of the department. 

"Now, that would be a dealer cost," Jump said.

"We'll have to evaluate and see what happens," Mastronardy said. 

The vehicles being retired from the fleet will be sold at auction, a task that is handled by township business administration personnel, according to the chief. 

Just another day February 25, 2013 at 03:14 PM
NICE.....Enjoy your new cars. Due to the economy I'm driving a 1999 because I had to tighten the belt over here. Itr's a shame the police can't do the same. They claim it's to replace cars damaged due to Sandy, but I see no mention of any insurance to cover the loss. Even my '99 has insurance to cover any loss. Come on now!!!
VoiceofReason February 25, 2013 at 03:15 PM
"Of the 10 purchases recently authorized by the Township Council are five vehicles meant to replace police units damaged during Superstorm Sandy. In total, the department will buy nine 2013 Dodge Chargers and one 2013 Ford Expedition through a state bid at a total cost of $238,835." "It will likely take another $5-6,000 to outfit each Charger with the necessary police equipment" Just think of the money that could've been saved if these guys would've gotten a less expensive vehicle. Are ya kidding me? Dodge Chargers? Must be nice. Glad thats what our money pays for. This is hardly news. What a waste of time. NO ONE CARES.
wookfish February 25, 2013 at 03:33 PM
That's where the FEMA monies going...
Patricia Perillo February 25, 2013 at 04:31 PM
Ocean County Scorecard: Toms River =10 Barrier Island Residents= 0 Amazing ! New police cars to tour the deserted barrier island !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ray C. February 25, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Exactly what vehicle suited for police work that's cheaper than $21K would you suggest? I mean, yeah, I drive a cheap Hyundai Accent, and it's a fantastic car that's much cheaper than $21K. But I'm not hauling around crime suspects in the back seat! I'm all for cutting wasteful government spending, but making sure a cop has a decent vehicle to do his job in just sounds like common sense. But please, enlighten me on your plan for cops to drive around in a Yugo and solve crimes. Please. When a burglar breaks into your house and you're on the phone with 9-1-1, do you really want to hear, "Sorry, I'm going to be another 5 minutes, the ignition's not kicking over"? Really?
prolongExistence February 25, 2013 at 04:34 PM
Ford no longer makes a police vehicle. Chevy's new police vehicle is not yet available and therefore untested in the real world. Dodge is the only choice right now. Besides that, when a thief has a gun in your face, a drunk driver just hit you head on or your mother isn't breathing, do you want to hear that the police officer couldn't get there because his 14 year old patrol car with over 800,000 miles on it broke down? Quit your bitchin' and think logically.
Mark February 25, 2013 at 05:04 PM
Heads should roll for not properly safeguarding taxpayers property ( the police vehicles) during the storm and the Police Chief should be the first to go! Over 100 vehicles for a police dept with about 100 officers! Are you kidding me! How many officers are on the road during any one shift...15, 20 max who the hell is managing this Dept! We need an outside entity to do a top to bottom audit of this dept. The Chief has been running this dept for about 20 years and he must have forgotten or never taken a course in Mgmt 101!
Mike February 25, 2013 at 05:26 PM
yeah, that's a great idea, let's have our police officers in 150,000 to 200,000 mile vehicles. How about our ambulances too. People would still complain when they broke down on the way to a call.
Mike February 25, 2013 at 05:27 PM
I'm convinced. People are just chronic complainers these days
Just another day February 25, 2013 at 06:10 PM
Well said Mark. Maybe some housewife who knows how to pinch pennies should be doing the buying. Not people spending tax dollars like drunken sailor on leave.
Just another day February 25, 2013 at 06:14 PM
Barrier Island Residents....blah blah blah..... I'm so sick of hearing how you think the Barrier Island Residents have been shorted. Get over it already. Boo Hoo is me!!!!!!
Laci February 25, 2013 at 06:15 PM
I'd rather a Dodge Charger getting to where ever it has to go quickly as compared to a Ford Focus. Since most of our tax money goes to the schools, complain about the replacement costs of school buses that stop at everyother house in select neighborhoods instead of 10- 15 kids getting picked up a block or 2 from their house. You can only drive around for so long with that "check engine" light on.
Michael reina February 25, 2013 at 06:22 PM
Ok not to change subject but patch readers have always been there for each other.....so i need some help : I as a single dad displaced from ortley ...Need to rent a 2 bdrm home or apt in the EAST section 08753. Iam looking for long term due to current landlord is scared to rebuild and loose what will be invested due to flood elevation crap. Iam looking around $1400 including elec /gas please email mrconcrete11@gmail.com ty
Jerzymom February 25, 2013 at 06:38 PM
LMAO RAY! The police really need to update their cars. I've seen in plenty of states the mustangs and camaros their using. Can you imagine a police officer trying to pull a car over or race to a scene in a hybrid. Barely fit criminals in the car or keep up with them.
Josef Kramer February 25, 2013 at 06:39 PM
Well we are sorry you are driving a 1999, get a better job!
Josef Kramer February 25, 2013 at 06:40 PM
Should stay deserted too bad you all didn't wash away in the storm would be less whining around here
Just another day February 25, 2013 at 07:39 PM
@Josef Kramer Maybe I like driving my 1999. Maybe I don't want to replace something that drives just fine, maybe I don't want to create another bill. If I wasto buy a car that my job would support I'd have a Lexus or a high ticket car and will afford it with no problem. I just don't see the nessessity to have another bill. You must sit up all night thinking of STUPID comments!
Bob Hockenfrocken February 25, 2013 at 07:49 PM
Mark, you're a clown and yet another example of an ignorant misinformed chronic complainer. It's actually quite amusing how clueless you are.
Bob Hockenfrocken February 25, 2013 at 08:03 PM
There are other rear wheel drive police vehicles beside the Charger...it is a Chevrolet Caprice PPV. They are being used by police officers throughout the country today. People need to inform themselves before they comment, especially the police mechanic.
Mark February 25, 2013 at 09:49 PM
Bob, Thanks for reading my post. Please inform me of how my statements were "ignorant and or misinformed" and how my statements were clueless?
Will February 25, 2013 at 10:03 PM
Actually Ford does make 2 types of police vehicles just not the Crown Vic anymore. http://www.ford.com/fordpoliceinterceptor/#
Eddie February 25, 2013 at 10:06 PM
Sorry about that "spoken", but I drive a 98 and I take care of it, The police, fire and ambulances have to be ready to perform the duties in emergencies, give them the tools they need to do the job, and quit bitching about it. If you want a better car get a second or third job if need be.
bayway mike February 25, 2013 at 11:36 PM
The Police Dept has a mechanic?? He or she, must not be doing too well of a job..Just can't wait until we see a Police car at STS or Pep Boys for an oil change or a tire rotation..
mjmjr February 26, 2013 at 08:11 AM
your tax dollars at work for you,
letsgetreal February 26, 2013 at 12:14 PM
Oh my God....Blahhh Blahhhh Blahhh just more complaining....People would bitch if they bought cars and people would bitch if they pinched pennies did not buy cars and then someone was injured as a result of not properly having enough cars. Then people would bitch how irresponsible the Town is for not having cars..LOL Thanks again for all the laughs
yeahbuddy February 28, 2013 at 04:31 AM
need to add at least 30 more cops.just stop raising taxes!!! maybe obama bought them he LOVES to give money away.
grace March 07, 2013 at 03:42 PM
so they needed 10? great job chief lol
grace March 07, 2013 at 03:43 PM
wow between the cars and the bubble tr is movin on up


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