(Update: Adding video, poll, comments from department)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ)-- Bend city councilors are being asked Wednesday evening to approve an over $1 million purchase of 23 new vehicles for the city's police department.
The planned purchase includes one Police Expedition, three F-150's, six F-150 Police Responders, and thirteen SUV Police Interceptors.
The total purchase amount for all 23 vehicles is $1,133,000 and is part of the city's 2023-2025 biennial budget. The cars will be bought from the Kendall Dealership Holdings and arrive in late 2024.
The purchase item is on the council's consent agenda, meaning they won't discuss it unless a councilor requests that it be pulled off and voted on separately.
In an issue summary for the council (see below), Police Chief Mike Krantz said the purchases are being made using a state solicitation process, the Oregonbuys eProcurement system, in accordance with the city's purchasing code.
Krantz noted that the average lifespan for police patrol vehicles is five years due to their heavy 24-hour use, high mileage and added wear from the weight of needed equipment. He said the Expeditions, used by lieutenants, have a larger footprint that allows them to be built as a field command post.
"Our patrol vehicles are used 24 hours a day and constantly, you know, our officers run almost 12-hour shifts," Bend Police Communications Manager Sheila Miller said Monday. "They share their vehicles with other people on different shifts, so these things are running constantly."
But the police chief said purchasing new police cars over the past four years has been difficult, due to production delays.
Miller said, "During COVID and in the time after COVID, there was a kind of a build-up, and they fell behind in their ability to produce all of these vehicles. And so there's a waitlist, and so we want to get on to the list as quickly as possible, but we won't have these in hand for quite a while."
The department will be added to a waitlist if approved. Once the cars are delivered, a private company will update equipment and paint for each car.
The City Council issue summary is below: