CALCUTTA - With snowy roadways becoming a regular occurrence, the St. Clair Township Police Department is looking for a way to give their cruisers a little more traction.
Police Chief Don Hyatt briefed trustees Tuesday on his department's preparations for the winter season, which has appeared to arrive ahead of schedule this year.
Hyatt told trustees the department's Ford Crown Victoria police cruisers, which are the standard patrol car for police departments everywhere, are notoriously bad in the snow due to the fact the cars are rear wheel drive.
He noted that even with new tires and 50 pound sand bags in the trunk, the cruisers struggle to keep traction.
Several of the department's newer vehicle, including a newly purchased Ford Explorer, are all wheel drive according to Hyatt.
"They're not great in the snow - never have been," said Hyatt. "That's why the cop cars now are all wheel drive."
Hyatt told trustees he plans to obtain four sets of studded snow tires from J&J Tire in Lisbon to improve the traction of the patrol cars. Hyatt says he plans to use the studded tires only during the winter and remove them again in the summer time.
Hyatt reported to trustees that an officer was involved in a traffic accident while patrolling near the intersection of state Route 170 and St. Clair Avenue on Dec. 13.
The accident took place when a female driver attempted to change lanes without looking and struck Officer Joseph Brophy's patrol car.
The patrol car, which is brand new, sustained some minor damage to the side panel. Hyatt said the vehicle is still under warranty and will be taken to the dealership to be repaired. Neither driver was injured and the incident is being investigated by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Hyatt also informed trustees his department has received a "generous donation" from the Frank Mangano Foundation. Hyatt said his department has received a $1,000 donation earmarked for the Drug Law Enforcement Fund every year from the foundation for the 10 years he has served as chief. He noted that the Frank Mangano Foundation was making yearly donations to the township police before he was chief.
"It's very generous of them," said Hyatt.