Granite Quarry makes plans to buy more police cars

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 9, 2020

By Carl Blankenship

GRANITE QUARRY — The Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen on Tuesday approved the purchase of two new police vehicles with rollover funds from last year’s budget.

The Granite Quarry-Faith Joint Police authority had more than $100,000 in funds left in its 2019-2020 fiscal year budget. Police Chief Mark Cook told the town Board of Aldermen the leftover funding was the result of money appropriated for two officer positions, which the authority was not able to fill.

Cook was not at the board’s July 6 meeting when the rollover was discussed. The authority occupies a unique position in Granite Quarry and Faith because it is funded by and serves both municipalities.

Cook said the department normally purchases one new vehicle each year, but he recommended the authority be allowed to purchase two to three to supplement its fleet with the leftover funding after a previous order was canceled by a manufacturer due to COVID-19 and the engine failure of one vehicle.

Cook also said a newly hired officer is on the way along with another prospective hire in the works. So, the department will need the additional vehicles to equip each officer.

Cook plans to look into purchases from Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Dodge brand, which are the main suppliers of police vehicles in the United States. The exact model and outfitting of the vehicles was not discussed.

Cook said the authority could look into purchasing three vehicles with the funding, but the board of aldermen recommended purchasing two and keeping the additional funding around for a possible third if a vehicle became available.

Cook emphasized the need to move quickly on contracting an order, citing high demand for vehicles and October as an inopportune time to try and place an order. Cook said he is confident in being able to contract for vehicles from Fiat Chrysler, but less so with Ford.

Cook noted the oldest vehicles the joint police authority has are 2012 model years. The highest-mileage vehicle in its fleet, according to the department’s August summary report, is 67,923.

The board gave Cook the OK to move forward with looking into a pair of purchases contingent on the approval of the joint police authority’s board, which was extended as a courtesy. The board will call a meeting to vote on approval.

Also on Tuesday, Eagle Scout candidate Damian Stephens, of Boy Scout Troop 379, presented his plan to replace old trash cans on the nature trails at Granite Lake Park with permanent metal cans at the meeting.

Stephens plans to build forms and pour concrete slabs, to which the cans will be bolted. Stephens said he was inspired by seeing trash left on park trails.

Stephens plans to fundraise for the project materials. One idea he floated was a car wash.

Alderman Kim Cress asked Stephens about several details of the project, including how the concrete work would be done. Stephens said he would mix and pour the concrete on site with a portable mixer. He also plans to enlist the help of his dad, a contractor.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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