FENWICK ISLAND – Citing recent challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Fenwick Island will move forward with the purchase of an additional patrol vehicle.
The Fenwick Island Town Council voted last month unanimously to purchase a pre-owned patrol vehicle from Delaware State Fleet at a cost of $10,000. Fenwick Island Police Department Chief John Devlin told officials the additional vehicle would reduce officer exposure to COVID-19, as officers were currently sharing patrol cars.
“Because of COVID, and sharing cars, we’ve had two incidents with our officers,” he said. “One had COVID and another was out due to COVID. The officers were sharing the same vehicle. So I looked around to see if I could find something that worked for us that would be cost effective.”
Devlin told officials the town had originally planned to purchase a new patrol vehicle. However, the expenditure was removed from the budget in response to possible shortfalls resulting from the ongoing pandemic.
“A new vehicle would normally cost us $46,000 to completely get it ready and on the street,” he said.
While the pre-owned vehicle has a price tag of $10,000, Devlin told officials last week the installation of a mobile radio, partition and computer stand would add $9,000 to the cost. He said it still represented a savings of $27,000.
“If we ordered a new car in the next budget in August, we wouldn’t see it until January or February of next year …,” he added. “For the cost, I think this is worth looking into.”
With no further discussion, the council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of the patrol vehicle.
“I think it’s pertinent to look into this idea, separating officers for their safety,” Devlin said.
The police chief last week also presented the council with an update on the town’s acquisition of free vehicles through the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) program.
By way of background, the LESO program allows the transfer of excess Department of Defense equipment – from clothing and office supplies to vehicles and rifles – to law enforcement agencies across the country. And earlier this year, the town was provided an opportunity to acquire free vehicles – a high-water vehicle, a Humvee, a Ford F150 pickup truck, a Kubota Mule all-terrain vehicle and a backhoe – through the program.
“We did obtain three of the four vehicles. We did not get the backhoe …,” Devlin told the council last week. “We did obtain the Hummer, we did obtain the five-ton truck for rescues, and an F-150 pickup truck.”
Devlin added the town was still in the process of registering the three acquired vehicles.