Niagara Gazette — The Niagara Falls Police Department’s fleet of aging, overworked cruisers will finally be put out to pasture.
The department can now start shopping for new cars for the first time since 2008. The Niagara Falls City Council approved a measure from Mayor Paul Dyster’s office at Tuesday’s council meeting allocating $513,000 in casino revenues to buy 19 new cars, essentially replacing the entire fleet.
Police Superintendent Bryan DalPorto said his cars run for days at a time with officers leaving the cruiser running for the next shift when returning to the public safety building.
“The cars are running 24 hours a day because of the new computer equipment,” he said.
The computer systems take a long time to reboot and automatically shut down when the car is not running.
And that would cause problems for the officer just starting a shift if they received a call right away, DalPorto said.
“It’s better to just leave them running because it doesn’t shut down the whole system,” he explained.
State guidelines suggest that police vehicles be replaced at 90,000 miles.
Almost all of the department’s cruisers have reached that threshold with many surpassing it by tens of thousands of miles. Some of the cars have important components — like defrosters, essential in the often brutal winter months — that no longer work, DalPorto said.
“They’ve become a safety issue with the defrosters,” he said.
According to DalPorto, it was important for the council to approve the allocation now, and not as part of the adopted 2014 budget, so that the department can begin ordering cars right away.
“We really have to get these things ordered before winter,” he said.
The department’s vehicles see tough miles, covering the large footprint of the Cataract City, often traversing streets pock marked by pot holes.
DalPorto said the rough city driving has taken its toll on the cruisers and that the department is in “desperate need” of new cars.