SALINEVILLE-With the beginning of the new year, village Police Chief Andrew Straley has been working with village officials to update the village's insurance policy in regard to his department's police cruisers. However, three of the department's six cruisers are out of service, according to Straley, who asked that council approve selling them Monday night.
Mayor Mary Smith asked council to decide what sort of policy the village should carry on the department's cruisers, operational or out of service. This prompted councilmen Brian Tedeschi to ask Straley, who was at the meeting, whether some of the vehicles were even worth insuring.
"No, they're an absolute safety hazard," said Straley.
He explained that two of the Chevy Impala cruisers are used for parts while another Ford Crown Victoria, which was used as an unmarked car, has been broken and unused for years.
Straley told council the aging cruisers have high mileage and a host of mechanical problems including electrical and transmission failures. Considering these factors, council seemed in agreement that insuring the three out of service cruisers would not be practical.
Before voting to leave the broken down cruisers uninsured, council consulted village solicitor Andy Beech. He advised that if council choose not to insure the cruisers, they make sure no one move them or take them on the roadway for any reason.
"If you move those or put them on the street even temporarily and anybody gets hurt on those you will not have any insurance coverage," said Beech.
With Beech's legal opinion in mind Straley said he would make sure to move the vehicles to a village owned storage space before dropping the insurance. However, Beech revised his opinion saying it would be a good idea for the village to carry at least minimum liability insurance on the cruisers in the case that someone got into the storage space and injured themselves on the vehicle somehow.
"It's one of those one in a million situations that could bankrupt you," said Beech.
Council voted to keep minimum liability insurance on the out of service cruisers.
Council then motioned to advertise and sell the three out of service cruisers. Straley suggested the vehicles be offered to the general public since his attempts to sell them within the law enforcement community were unsuccessful. He noted that due to their condition it may be more practical to scrap the vehicles rather than sell them. Whether scrapped or sold outright, Straley noted that the money from the sale of the cruisers would be a help to his department.
The sale of the three unusable cruisers leaves the department with three cruisers, one of which is a recently purchased 2006 Dodge Charger and the other two cruisers donated to the village by the county sheriff's office.
"County has been very good to us," said Straley.
Council motioned to scrap two of the vehicles.
"Scrap the scrap and sell what you can," said Councilmen John Higgins.