South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Sunset Hills aldermen approve purchase of new police vehicle

New Tahoe costs about $6K more than a Ford Explorer
Sunset+Hills+aldermen+approve+purchase+of+new+police+vehicle

The Sunset Hills Board of Alderman unanimously passed a resolution approving a contract for the purchase of one marked police SUV – a Chevrolet Tahoe – along with the associated emergency equipment, vehicle graphics and installations at its June 11 meeting. The total fiscal impact from the purchase sits at $60,073.87.

“Current vehicles do pose a significant safety concern during ride-alongs as the front passenger seat is basically encumbered by the essential equipment – the laptops that the officers have in their vehicles,” Ward 4 Alderman and Police Advisory Board member Lindsay Hof said at the meeting during committee reports. “Another benefit to this Tahoe purchase is maintaining our police officers and incentivizing them to stay within our department.”

When brought up again during new business, Hof made a motion to approve the resolution, which was seconded by Ward 1 Alderman Ann McMunn. Before a vote was taken, though, a few aldermen had questions for Police Chief Stephen Dodge.

Ward 2 Alderman Casey Wong spoke first, inquiring about the cost differential between the current Ford Explorers and the new proposed Tahoe. The chief responded that, in total, the Tahoe would cost about $6,000 more, though because this purchase was not included in this year’s budget, the department intends to purchase only one of the three vehicles allotted for 2025’s budget to offset the purchase this year and mitigate the financial impact.

“We wouldn’t be buying any new vehicles for two years. The next car we’re gonna get is a detective vehicle, so I’m not quite sure what model that’s going to be. This would actually give us two years to test the Tahoe out to see how it performed, see how we liked it, see how the officers liked it.”

Wong then asked about the fuel economy comparison, to which Dodge responded that he “didn’t think it was that much worse” though he assured Wong that he would look it up.

Ward 4 Alderman Fred Daues spoke next, inquiring about the rationale behind the decision to purchase the vehicle.

“My biggest concern is officer safety. In particular when we’re training somebody. If we have a new officer, they’re gonna ride in the front seat with another officer for anywhere from a month to three months,” Dodge said. “When we have officers being trained, I don’t want to see them getting hurt in a collision with that equipment being pushed into their leg. It could break their leg or even worse.”

When it came time for a vote, all eight aldermen were in favor, passing the resolution unanimously.