JASPER, Tenn. - When one of Jasper's troublesome police cars broke down for the final time recently, city leaders already had a plan in place to resolve the problem.
Alderman Paul West said the city budgeted $30,000 this fiscal year to buy a new patrol car.
The Jasper Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously recently to make the purchase after Police Chief Tim Graham found a fully loaded, new patrol car for much less than expected.
Mayor Paul Evans said one of the department's patrol cars recently "died" and the officer assigned to it has been driving the city's only spare car ever since.
"This is the car that we were planning on taking out of service and replacing at the end of this year," he said.
The car had well over 170,000 miles on it, Graham said, and constant overheating problems.
"We took it everywhere to try and get it fixed," he said. "I guess it just got hot one time too many."
Graham said he began looking for a replacement through the normal channels, but was told that it would take 10 to 15 weeks before delivery, and a new car would cost around $25,000.
The city then would have to pay someone to install all the police equipment on the new vehicle, which would increase the cost significantly, he said.
After some more digging, Graham said, he found a local dealer with a 2012 Dodge Charger left over from a previous state bid for $25,644.
"The price is complete," he said. "We send our old radio and our old radar to them, and they install all of that. It's going to come ready to go."
The cost includes a full warranty and typical police equipment such as the light bar, between-screen, corner strobe lights, a siren and a console, all of which are included and installed at the base price.
"I was shocked," Graham said about discovering the deal.
"I think it's a good price," Evans said. "We're in need, and right now I don't think we need to wait."
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.