OCEAN CITY- The Ocean City Police Department will be patrolling the town in nine new police cruisers as early as next spring, with some of them to be equipped with state of the art cameras, after the City Council’s unanimous vote on Tuesday.
Council approved the purchase of six marked and three unmarked Ford Crown Victorias, through the OCPD’s 2010 Maryland State Contract, replacing two cars that were involved in accidents, and one with a blown transmission that is scheduled to be sold in the town’s vehicle auction in the spring.
The town awarded the apparent low bid to Hertrich Vehicle Fleet in Milford, Delaware for $207,594 or just over $23,000 per car.
Ocean City Purchasing Director Joe Sobczak informed the council that the budgeted amount for the purchase of these vehicles was $228,000, so Hertrich’s low price quote ended up saving the town a little over $20,000.
“If we place the order for these vehicles this week then the vehicles will be ready by April and we anticipate that the cameras will be installed and ready to go then as well,” said Sobczak. “But I’ve been told that these prices that we’ve gotten these vehicles for is absolutely unheard of as apparently, the dealers can’t even get them for that price.”
Councilman Jim Hall wondered aloud if the six new Panasonic brand cameras that the OCPD was awarded in late May to the tune of almost $6,000 per camera, would be going into the new police cruisers.
Chief Bernadette DiPino informed Hall and the rest of the council that the cameras, which will be paid for from a Homeland Security Grant, will in fact be installed into the new vehicles.
In total, the camera installation, training and hardware into the new police cruisers will cost just under $48,000 according police officials who discussed the project in May at the Council level.
The system also retrieves wireless video footage eliminating the need to have to pull video from a videocassette or DVD. Essentially, in using a wireless hotspot in the parking lot, video data would upload automatically from the device’s hard drive in the vehicle to a mainframe server at the police station on 65th street. According to police officials, system failure would be covered by an ethernet connection and a large storage server for saving data.
The decision to use Panasonic as the sole source vendor for the cameras is congruent with several other state law enforcement agencies who use the company. However, police officials said in May that the decision to go with Panasonic had more to do with durability, compatibility, and overrall effectiveness after they conducted a three month study of sorts than following any other police force in the state.