Niagara Gazette — “Basically the stock of patrol cars has to be replaced,” DalPorto said. “They’re just shot.”
Most of the city’s current fleet will be auctioned off, with some cars going to other departments.
“Some of them are better than others,” DalPorto said. “But, they’re past the point of use for a police vehicle.”
The police department, like many city departments, held off on new equipment during the four-year dispute between the Seneca Nation of Indians and New York state over an exclusivity clause in the 2002 gaming compact.
The Senecas stopped paying the state in 2009 — and the state stopped paying the host cities like Niagara Falls — because, they claimed, the state had violated the contract by placing gaming devices in race tracks within the exclusivity zone outlined in the provision and marketed those facilities as casinos.
The Senecas and the state reached a negotiated settlement in June and the city received the $89 million withheld during the dispute in August.
The city has moved to replace outdated and overused equipment for other departments in recent weeks, approving the allocation of over $1 million to purchase new vehicles and road repair equipment for the Department of Public Works in late September.
Dyster said designation of money for the new police cruisers represents the next step in that mission.
“We’re trying to get back onto a more regular schedule for replacing equipment,” Dyster said.
And by replacing equipment on a more regular basis the city can keep repair costs down and take advantage of more cost effective technology, like fuel efficient motors in the case of the new police vehicles.
“We believe that, if you can afford to, you should replace equipment on a regular basis and not just drive the equipment into the ground,” Dyster said.
In addition, in consistently updating equipment the city protects officers and allows them to be more efficient in their jobs, Dyster said.