ST. PETERSBURG — The new year could bring new cars to the Police Department.
The City Council will vote today on whether to approve contracts to buy 40 police cruisers for $1.1 million and to renew a $154,000 lease for 29 cars for top brass and undercover gumshoes.
The lease includes Chevrolet Impalas for police Chief Chuck Harmon and the three assistant chiefs. The other 26 vehicles would be used for undercover and surveillance work.
The department trimmed about $20,000 from the lease contract when it was approved three years ago, Assistant Chief David DeKay said. Officers use cars seized by criminals for undercover work, but DeKay stressed that it's costly to maintain them.
The top administrators don't drive old cruisers because they use more gas and are expensive to maintain, DeKay said.
A memo to the council says Enterprise Leasing Company of Florida will exchange the vehicles if criminals detect they are being used for undercover work.
The base price of each of the 40 Ford Interceptors is $22,876. The price after modifications such as adding lights and sirens is $29,585.
The new vehicles would replace cruisers that have been on the streets between five to eight years.
The older cars will be sold at a public auction.
The city is purchasing the cars from Duval Ford, piggybacking on a contract from the Florida Sheriffs Association.
Mark Puente can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow him at Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.