Rockwood Police Department gets major upgrade with 11 new cruise

Rockwood Police Department gets major upgrade with 11 new cruisers

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Brand new from the light bar to the rubber on the road, a fleet of new Dodge Chargers are now patrolling the city of Rockwood. Brand new from the light bar to the rubber on the road, a fleet of new Dodge Chargers are now patrolling the city of Rockwood.
By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

ROCKWOOD (WATE) - An East Tennessee Police Department received a major upgrade Thursday with nearly a dozen new cruisers. The 11 cars will help Rockwood police avoid some costly issues with older vehicles and hopefully leave them better equipped to protect the community.

Brand new from the light bar to the rubber on the road, a fleet of new Dodge Chargers are now patrolling the city of Rockwood.

"I think they're nice. I like them and I think they're cool looking," said resident Anthony Phillips.

So why now? Officials say the old fleet was bought used five years ago and the aging fleet was having transmission and battery issues, and most had at least 100,000 miles logged.

"The money to provide the upkeep was becoming expensive. The last couple of months we've really had to invest some money back into the fleet to keep them running," said Rockwood Police Chief Danny Wright.

Buying all 11 cruisers at once was a price tag of nearly $300,000, but was this something the city could afford?

"By extending the time out by a year we're able to recover part of our cost, it's actually going to be cheaper on the city of Rockwood in the long run then it is every two or three years trying to buy four or five cars," said Mayor James Watts.

The plan is simple with a five year warranty.

"Every four years sell off part of them and use the money from that to replace them with new ones. That way we can keep maintaining our fleet, keep it up to date," added Watts.

Patrol officers average about 15,000 miles per year, so more fuel efficient vehicles were purchased.

"It's more reliable and safe for them. It's a safety issue," said Chief Wright.

There are plans to sell the old fleet to help offset the purchasing price of the new vehicles.

Rockwood police say they'll be monitoring fuel consumption of the new cars to see if they're saving money. New equipment, including cameras, were also installed.

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