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Cottonwood Shores police getting two more vehicles to keep up with staffing

Cottonwood Shores police

The city of Cottonwood Shores is buying two Ford Explorers for the police department to keep up with staffing. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

The Cottonwood Shores Police Department is adding two more Ford Explorers to its stable to keep up with officer numbers and cut down on individual vehicle mileage.

Councilors approved purchasing the two used patrol SUVs at $20,000 each during the May 6 meeting.

Police Chief Johnny Liendo said the department has doubled in staffing the past four years from three to six but not in vehicles. As a result, officers share the department’s vehicles, which means the units are used 24 hours a day, seven days a week

“We’ve been doubling up on vehicles and putting extra miles, especially on our (Chevy) Tahoe,” he said. “I have one that’s 80,000-plus (miles) I drive, and I baby that quite a bit. I’m trying to keep these cars from being used 24 hours. ”

The chief said both Explorers, one of which has 77,000 miles and the other 91,000 miles, are fully equipped minus the radio and radar, which he already had in storage “we saved over the years. We bought two radios two years ago from Horseshoe Bay.”

In thanking the council, Liendo made a promise.

“We’ll take very good care of the vehicles,” he said.

The two Explorers are also all-wheel-drive, which could come in handy during storms such as the February winter freeze. The city has no all-wheel-drive vehicles. During the winter storm, Liendo, City Administrator J.C. Hughes, and Mayor Don Orr had to use their own four-wheel- or all-wheel-drive vehicles to ford the snow and ice.

After the council approved the purchases, Hughes told councilors to prepare for more requests to buy all-wheel-drive vehicles, not only for the police department but also for utilities, too.

“We’re planning ahead, and, every other year, we’re going to start replacing a couple of cars,” he said. “They had high mileage when we got them and high(er) mileage now.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com