FORT SMITH (KFSM) — The Fort Smith Police Department is managing to get by with cars and equipment nearly 10 years old, but on Tuesday (Oct. 3) the city board of directors approved an ordinance allowing the department to buy the equipment they need with money they already have.
Police Chief Nathaniel Clark asked the board to use approximately $750,000 on some of the department’s most critical needs, including police vehicles, upgraded equipment and special training.
“It's a win-win for the department, but most importantly, it's a win-win for the community,” Chief Clark said.
The police department will be replacing more than a dozen 2008-2010 Ford Crown Victorias and its oldest Chevy Tahoes with new Tahoes. Lt. Wes Milam said the cars they are replacing are used daily. They are also looking into a lease program where they can replace the vehicles every four years.
“The reason we do the police Tahoes is we have a lot of equipment,” Lt. Milam said. “Law enforcement today requires a lot of technology.”
But new vehicles are not the only need for police safety and performance. The FSPD’s tasers are just as old as the cars, and they’re failing.
“Whenever you try to do a job, and your equipment doesn’t work, you can’t do your job,” Lt. Milam said.
The department will also invest in some out of state training for supervisors.
“We can take these experiences from other agencies outside the state of Arkansas to bring back to Fort Smith to better our department and therefore better our community,” Lt. Milam said.
The FSPD will also be using the leftover money to buy critical incident gear, which will help them in a civil disturbance or natural disaster. They are also planning to purchase three police motorcycles.