MPD gets 2 new police cars

Published 5:05 am Friday, December 2, 2022

JORDAN BROOKS

jordan.brooks@middlesboronews.com

The city of Middlesboro added two new police vehicles to its fleet on Wednesday, with three more on the assembly line to come in January.

Middlesboro Mayor Rick Nelson went over how the city acquired the new vehicles, each a 2022 Dodge Durango, explaining the city’s police fleet was in need of updating.

“Most of the cars were the old (Ford) Crown Victoria that they stopped making in 2011, so we have updated,” Nelson explained.

According to Nelson, there is a nationwide shortage of police cars.

“The gold standard of police cars used to be the Crown Victoria,” said Nelson. “They were big, spacious, safe… and all of a sudden Ford decided to stop making the Crown Victoria, so that’s left people scrambling.”

The Middlesboro police fleet of vehicles include the Dodge Durango, Dodge Challenger, Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Tahoe, but Nelson says supply chain issues have made vehicles, including police cars, hard to find.

Middlesboro has a fleet system, where each officer has their own vehicle. After some research, the police department was able to find a few 2022 Dodge Durangos sitting on lots. These 2022 models were in stock, and roughly $3,000 to $4,000 cheaper than the 2023s.

Middlesboro has ordered three new Ford vehicles from a local dealership, Tim Short, that are currently on the assembly line and are estimated to be ready in January or February.

Nelson explained a few different ways Middlesboro is paying for their vehicles.

“We got a grant from the USDA,” said Nelson. “That will in part pay for three Dodge Durangos, but (auto dealer) Tim Short is the only entity that placed a bid.”

Nelson also explained tax money obtained from the sale of alcoholic beverages helped fund the purchase of the Chargers. According to Nelson, all 24 Middlesboro City Police officers will benefit from the new vehicles.

“We’re going to be using a percentage of ABC money from the sale of alcohol to make the payments on these,” Nelson said.

“We’ve had about 13 new police vehicles since I’ve been mayor. And we’re adding five more, so in total 18, and in January we are expecting three more so that will be 21. So by February, 21 of our 24 police officers will have a new vehicle.”