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Madawaska selectmen approve new cruiser, dispatch service contract

MADAWASKA, Maine — The Select Board on Tuesday approved buying a new cruiser for local police and renewed the town’s contract with the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office dispatch system.

Madawaska Police Chief Ross Dubois approached Town Manager Gary Picard with a request to use a portion of the department’s $83,803 reserve police car account and designate it for purchasing a new vehicle.

The town requested bids from two separate car dealers for two different kinds of cars to replace a higher mileage patrol vehicle being cycled out. Dubois said he preferred the Dodge Charger over a Ford Sports Utility Vehicle, because he believes Ford “constantly tweaks” its police package and never quite fully works out the bugs.

“This year, we’ve had a lot of expenses in [the Ford being replaced], and according to Pelletier Ford, they’re having a lot of problems with the police package,” Dubois said.  

He added that the cost of the Charger is “substantially less than the Ford SUVs we currently have in our inventory.”

In addition, the chief said other agencies he checked with that are currently using the Charger “have been extremely satisfied with the performance of these vehicles.”

The old vehicle will be stripped of identifying police emblems and lights, and be used by public works for transporting parts and use around town.

While Dubois and the selectmen discussed the possibility of buying an electric car to save on mileage and possibly acquire a grant for the purchase, the police chief said he was not comfortable pursuing that road.  

“I think parked at the scene of a car accident for 10 hours with all the police equipment running would drain the battery pretty quick,” Dubois said.

Pelletier Ford and Pelletier Motors, based out of Fort Kent, submitted bids for a 2020 Ford Interceptor and a 2019 Dodge Charger, and Percy’s Auto Sales submitted a bid for a 2019 Dodge Charger. Percy’s Dodge bid came in as the lowest bid for just over $27,000 while the Pelletier bids came in at close to $38,000 for the Ford and $28,600 for the Dodge.

The selectmen approved the bid for the 2019 Dodge Charger from Percy’s Auto Sales.

The board also approved renewing the contract with the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office dispatching service for another year. Picard said he had asked for a longer contract, possibly extending five years, but the dispatching agreements are only done for a year at a time.

“The sheriff’s department provides all residents of and visitors to Madawaska with professional, expedient and efficient dispatch services for all fire, EMS and police emergency calls,” Dubois said. “The collaboration between the sheriff’s department and the town of Madawaska could not be going smoother.”

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