Buying 38 Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs and one Chevrolet Express Cargo Van for $2.6 million to initiate a fleet for the town’s police department was approved recently by Queen Creek Town Council.
The $2,607,440 purchase from a state of Arizona cooperative contract with Courtesy Chevrolet was approved Sept. 16 as part of a consent agenda with other items. On the dais were Mayor Gail Barney and Councilmember Jeff Brown. Meeting by WebEx were Vice Mayor Julia Wheatley and Councilmembers Emilena Turley and Jake Hoffman. Councilmembers Robin Benning and Dawn Oliphant were absent.
“We don’t expect the bulk of our vehicles to arrive until June. Possibly earlier; just depends on how fast the manufacturer moves, but June is our projected date,” Queen Creek Police Department Police Chief Randy Brice said to the council later in the meeting.
On Sept. 2 the council approved spending $336,000 for three Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs and two Chevy Silverado pick-up trucks from Courtesy Chevrolet, command vehicles for the police department.
“We are initiating our purchase of our command vehicles, which you approved last council meeting, and we’re going to get all of that equipment. We expect to have that be delivered in about 30 to 45 days,” Chief Brice said.
The total anticipated fleet for the police department would be between 54 and 59 vehicles, with some coming from Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Public Works Director Troy White said in a memo to the council.
“The original 2019 police study estimated that the department would need approximately 55 vehicles. The study further indicated that there may be an opportunity to purchase/retain a number of vehicles from the MCSO District 6 fleet — possibly 10-15 vehicles. However, these vehicles will not be available at the time of cut-over. As such, we must be able to acquire and outfit enough vehicles to support minimum operations on day one,” he said.
MCSO District 6 – Queen Creek is the town’s current law-enforcement provider, at 20727 E. Civic Parkway.
The police department could receive the MCSO vehicles in February, Chief Brice said.
“We won’t be able to get the MCSO vehicles until probably sometime February or later, just because they have to use them until we’re done and then we’ll have to start retrofitting them and we have a plan to keep that at a very low cost. And most of the equipment that they have on them will be usable; we can reprogram things,” he said.
Branding --- such as logos, patches, badges or vehicle makeup with something that says “police” on it --- are to be approved by the council by November, Chief Brice said.
“We have to look at a color palette that can be brought across all of the different mediums or modes of communication. We want to look at the fonts, make sure the look is cohesive, while also providing that safety and security that I need as an officer out on the street. So they are easily recognized, they’re not mistaken as somebody else other than a police officer, but also have the ability to do their other work that they need to do in a safe and protected manner,” he said.
A professional look is needed, Chief Brice said.
“So recognition is important --- that brand recognition in all aspects is something worth going for --- and then, really to be honest with you, as a point of pride. In the law-enforcement community, what we wear and how we look is really important and I think it says a lot about our community when we look professional. We bring out that legitimacy and professionalism that a community is really looking for,” he said.
Five variations of logos and five for vehicles have been designed, with the latter focusing in a black-and-white law-enforcement look, he said.
“We wanted to stay close to that black-and-white feel that you see in a lot of neighboring agencies for a reason. One of the things it does is as we travel between jurisdictions or in other jurisdictions it’s helpful when people have an instant recognition — ‘this is a police car.’ We get that whether we are in Gilbert or Queen Creek or visa-versa... It’s a quick, easy reference that the black-and-white shows, so we’re just doing a little bit of a riff on that black-and-white look so it’s not so blocky,” he said.
Paint schemes for the police vehicles that are needed by the first of the year, Chief Brice said.
“Vehicles — we have to have the paint scheme in to the manufacturer by Jan. 1 in order for that to be ready for the manufacturing piece, because they sometimes will block the colors out at the factory level and then finish the rest of it later,” he said.