By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — The Marshfield Police Department recently began converting to all-wheel and four-wheel drive vehicles with the purchases of Ford Explorers and a 2017 Ram pickup.
“Historically, we have been driving Chevy Tahoes, and they were two-wheel drive because that’s all we could budget and afford at that time,” said Marshfield Police Chief Rick Gramza. “Chevy has kind of priced themselves out of the market, and we are looking for cost-saving options but maybe with a four-wheel drive or maybe all-wheel drive ability.”
Gramza stated that last winter two of the department’s Chevrolet Tahoes had become stuck while responding to domestic disturbances, which prompted officials to pursue purchasing all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive options.
“One of the vehicles that we recently purchased was a 2017 Dodge Ram pickup truck. … The question was, ‘Was this really an affordable vehicle? How much do they cost?’” said Gramza.
He added, “It is about a $46,000 vehicle that we purchased for $31,000, so $15,000 under sticker price. We look at resale in three years when we get rid of it, and we will probably be getting anywhere from $20,000-$25,000 back for that vehicle, so it’s a total expenditure on the one vehicle for roughly $6,000-$11,000.
“How that compares: when we were buying our Chevy Impalas, they were about $25,000, where we were receiving about $3,000 upon sale of those in three years.
“Our Tahoes are about $34,000-35,000, and we’re receiving about $12,000 for those upon resale in three years, once they’ve reached that 100,000-mile mark.”
The department felt the new vehicles were a good investment of taxpayer dollars and would also address other concerns with the police vehicles.
“It’s a vehicle with a larger cabin for the three officers that are all over 6’3”, and they need that larger space, but it’s also with the amount of equipment we are carrying nowadays,” explained Gramza. “It has really come in handy for storage — both the pickup truck and the Tahoes — and now we are also going to all-wheel drive Explorers, which are a little smaller than the Tahoes but again are all-wheel drive and are cheaper than the two-wheel drive Tahoes are.”
Gramza stated that there is no difference in vehicle specifications and maneuverability between the Tahoes and the four-wheel drive Ram and that the Explorers have shown better performance with all-wheel drive.
Vehicles available for police purchase throughout the year are dependent on state contracts and automobile manufacturers.