BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Buffalo Common Council has approved the Buffalo Police Department’s purchase of 14 new vehicles, but not after the department had to spend more than $100,000 to deal with the vehicle shortage.
In January of this year, Buffalo Police Union President Jon Evans said more than half the department’s fleet was out of service and 25% of those vehicles would not return to service.
“We’re dangerously low on vehicles,” Evans said.
Evans says that situation hasn’t gotten much better since January, especially since the pandemic forced leaders to make some tough decisions.
According to a letter sent by BPD Commissioner Byron Lockwood, Lockwood approved the purchase of 14 new cars in March, and the department has been renting 15 cars since that time.
Lockwood said in the letter the fleet was so “seriously depleted” that the department had to rent the vehicles to respond to 911 calls and carry out investigation work.
The cars have cost the department $700 per month/per car. To date, that adds up to $105,000 in payments for cars the city doesn’t own.
“We weren’t holding it up, we were only waiting for information they never gave us,” said Buffalo Common Council Member Rasheed Wyatt.
The Buffalo Common Council says before it approved that money, it wanted information from BPD. The council wants GPS trackers in the new vehicles, and wants to make sure the vehicles are not driven as “take home cars” outside the city limits.
“We want the comfort that those new vehicles are going to be used in the city,” Wyatt said.
Tuesday, the council approved the purchase of 14 cars at a cost of nearly $318,000.
Evans says there are still not enough vehicles, and the department is hopeful more vehicles will come in March of next year.
The rented vehicles are being swapped out with the new ones as they come in.