By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The Tupelo Police Department will roll out six new vehicles using money collected from an illegal cigarette ring in 2009.
The department used $169,000 to purchase four Dodge Chargers and two Chevrolet Tahoes to replace aging police vehicles. Each vehicle is equipped with everything needed for a police car.
Tupelo Police Chief Tony Carleton said buying the cars with the forfeiture money saves the taxpayers and the department money.
“We put a lot of miles on police cars, so getting to 150,000 miles doesn’t take long,” said Carleton. “Being able to buy these new vehicles at minimal cost is very good for the department. They are makes and models that we haven’t used before, so people will be a little surprised when they hit the street.”
The only vehicle the department has used up until this point is the Ford Crown Victoria, but that make will no longer be made with the police package, so Carleton said the Charger is an adequate replacement.
The make and model will not be the only changes people will see in the new cars. Instead of the yellow and blue Tupelo Golden Wave colors people are used to seeing patrolling the streets, the new vehicles will be black and white.
“The color scheme and pattern will be different,” said Carleton. “The officers decided they wanted to change the colors.”
It will take a few weeks to get the vehicles striped and equipped. They are expected to hit the streets sometime in September.