Page 17 - Salem Magazine Spring 2016
P. 17

Newsmakers
Street Smarts Help Salem’s PD
     When either the Salem Police Department or Salem Sheriff’s Office adds a new vehicle to its fleet, the
cars and vans usually arrive in Salem looking just like the ones you buy off
the showroom floor at your favorite dealership. The big difference is that once they are driven into the city garage they are torn to pieces.
“It usually takes about two weeks or 80 hours for a two-man crew to build- out a police car,” says Tony Terry, Salem City Garage Fleet Management Superintendent. “We start by removing the rear seat, the passenger front seat and start installing the new center console.”
While there is a chronological method to the demolition and reconstructive madness, the majority of the work at each and every step involves some portion of the vehicle’s electrical
system. Over a half a mile of wiring
has to be woven through almost every inch of the car’s interior to connect a variety of emergency lights, sirens, radar
equipment, two-way radios, cameras and a computer.
“It used to be that we had
to drill several holes in the roofs of these brand new cars to install
lights and antennas,” says Terry. “Now, with the new radio system, we only drill one hole in the roof for the light bar and two holes in the trunk lid for antennas, but it’s still a little nerve racking.”
It takes two car batteries and a
solar panel on the roof to power all of this. Once the electrical system work
is finished, the hard plastic prisoner transport seat and the protective shatter proof Plexiglas are installed in the back seat area. The trunk also is customized with easily accessible emergency light switches and a gun rack.
“This whole process is a team effort that also includes the city’s Technology Systems department,” says Terry. “While Paul Andrews and John Ringel are working on these cars in the shop, their fellow mechanics are taking care of everything else that needs attention, and we take a lot of pride in this.”
Salem Police Chief Mike Crawley estimates that having the work done in-house saves his department and taxpayers several thousand dollars per car compared to the cost of outsourcing the work.
  Terry
     www.salemva.gov | SPRING 2016
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