(WTVM) - Phenix City council members have voted to approve a $156,000 request to allow the police department to buy new patrol cars.
Phenix City Mayor Eddie Lowe confirms to News Leader 9 that the money will be used to buy seven new Dodge Chargers.
Each Charger is estimated to cost $23,000 a piece, with an additional $3,000 to $5,000 in lights and equipment.
Phenix City Police Chief Ray Smith asked Phenix City Council for this money to upgrade patrol cars for the department, replacing the older Crown Victorias with the smaller, faster Dodge Chargers.
"When you call us, you expect us to come," Smith explains. "So, we want these vehicles to be in top condition. They need to be capable of running higher than normal speeds. They need to be capable of running 12 to 13 hour shifts."
Smith says the department tries to phase cars with more than 150,000 miles -or- that have become too costly to maintain off the roads. He claims adding these new vehicles will help the department do just that. And they need city council's approval.
"When we buy cars for our fleet in the police department, we have to bring those to council," he adds. "Those are capital purchases and any capital purchase has to be approved by council before we spend the large amount of money that's needed to get those equipment."
Chief Smith tells us the Phenix City Police Department already has 30 Chargers in their fleet of more than 40 patrol cars.
"Well, certainly you don't want a vehicle that's got 100,000 miles on it and is in need of constant repair responding to an emergency situation," Smith said.
Council members had a work session Monday afternoon to review specifics of the proposal.