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Deerfield could see new police, highway vehicles

DEERFIELD — For $64,350, the town could replace a 10-year-old police cruiser and add new radios to all its cruisers to finally bridge a communication gap between local and state police.

Deerfield Police Chief John Paciorek Jr. is requesting the town buy a new unmarked cruiser for $42,500.

For another $21,850, the department’s five cruisers could get radios that would allow them to communicate with state police.

Townspeople can vote on the requests at the Oct. 28 special town meeting.

The cruiser, purchased in 2003 with federal community policing money, is rotting out and in need of repairs, the chief said.

An inspection last May indicated the vehicle needed to be replaced.

The cruiser is a nonpolice-rated vehicle and does not have the heavy duty brakes, suspension, cooling system, engine or any of the other items that keep officers safe, Paciorek said.

Every year, one of the four other cruisers gets replaced with town meeting approval. The fifth cruiser, however, is an anomaly because it was never purchased by the town, Paciorek said.

Paciorek said he doesn’t know yet what specific model the replacement would be, but he’d look for a vehicle with a towing capacity for emergency response situations.

Paciorek said the town could still use the cruiser. The vehicle still functions well as a nonpolice vehicle and can be recycled back for the town building inspector and board of health agent to use. It could also be used as a town pool vehicle for employees to use for training events, Paciorek said.

Paciorek is also requesting 800 megahertz radios for the Police Department. Right now, the Deerfield police have their own frequency and use scanners to listen to calls by state police. “This adds another radio so there is no breakdown in communication,” Paciorek said.

Last spring, Paciorek made the same request for the cruiser but pulled it when the town decided to use surplus money for other projects. Paciorek decided to wait until the fall to request the cruiser.

Highway Dept. pickup

Similarly, Highway Director Shawn Patterson asked for a town pickup last spring but withdrew the request. But at the coming meeting, townspeople will be asked again for a $40,000 pickup.

Patterson said he wants to replace one of the two older pickups that are in rough shape.

The new truck would be a 2014 Ford F-350 four-by-four with a 9-foot plow. The truck would cost $36,000 to $40,000 with new snow tires and a two-way radio. The town has 2003 and 2005 Ford-250 four-wheel-drive pickups.

Patterson is looking to replace the 2005 vehicle first because the 2003 vehicle is in better shape.

He believes the department can patch up the 2003 to pass inspection and serve the department one more year.

The 2005 truck will need a motor, transmission and major body work to pass inspection, while the 2003 vehicle needs some body work and minor repairs.

From a financial stand point, Patterson said he believes purchasing a new truck is a better alternative than spending thousands of dollars on 10-year-old trucks.

The trucks are used in the town’s daily operations, have plow routes during the winter and are on a 10-year replacement program, Patterson said.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at:
kmckiernan@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.

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