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The Roanoke Rapids Police Department will get five Dodge Durangos and the fire department will get a Silverado pickup after city council Tuesday night approved a revised lease agreement with Enterprise Fleet Management.

Council had originally discussed the matter during a November meeting and approved the agreement on a split vote because the dissenting members wanted more details on the program before moving forward.

The motion approved in November was for the lease of Dodge Chargers which have presented maintenance issues with the police package.

Council Tuesday rescinded the November 4 vote and the new motion passed unanimously.

The program gives Enterprise Fleet Management the option to purchase the vehicles from a local dealer, Finance Director Leigh Etheridge told council, as long as they can agree on a purchase price. “ … So this recommendation does not necessarily delete our desire to buy local whenever we can when it is the best use of our taxpayer funds.”

Etheridge said the Durango has proven more reliable than the Charger and police Chief Bobby Martin has spoken with several departments which have bought 2019 and 2020 Chargers. “ … Most said they regret their choice due to maintenance issues.”

She said the Durango offers more space and cargo room for the equipment officers need to have with them. The vehicle is also designed for comfort for a driver wearing an equipment belt for guns, Tasers, handcuffs, and other devices. “Both  programs offer open-ended leases but the Enterprise FM lease can be terminated earlier if they determine the vehicle's positive equity (and/or) its rising maintenance cost make it a candidate for early trade-in.”

Enterprise FM also offers ongoing electronic data usage and tracking of mileage and maintenance costs, “thereby being better able to determine when it is in our best interest to consider the purchase or new lease options,” Etheridge said.

The total annual cost for the lease of the five Durangos is $37,595 while the annual cost for the pickup is $8,582.

Etheridge said in the action request form contained in the council agenda packet the city has the additional funding to complete the initial startup in the current year budget. “These funds are due to additional city surplus funding revenue received this year and specific federal military police surplus sale revenues.”

The federal funding can only be used for police operations and there is enough funding going into the third and fourth quarters to meet the financial requirements when the initial vehicles will be available for possession through Enterprise, the document said.