The president of the New Haven Police Union describes the condition of many of the police department's squad cars as "troubling". That is why the union is calling for more funding to upgrade those police vehicles.
Any additional dollars would need to be approved by the city's Board of Alders; a rigorous process that is just in the early stages.
Images of peeling paint and floors falling apart show what Craig Miller, New Haven Police Union President, said is the current condition of many of the department's squad cars. "It got to a point where it's, its just troubling," he said.
So troubling, said Miller, that the union has raised the issue with the police department and the city, saying more funding is needed to repair these aging cruisers and to bring new vehicles into the fleet.
“That's our main concern," said Miller. "If you take someone in a car and transport them to the police department and something happens, the city's liable," he said.
The police department administration agrees that these cars need work.
“We are wasting money on repairing vehicles that are worth very little just to keep cars on the road," said Officer David Hartman, spokesperson for the New Haven Police Dept.
Increasing the annual budget for acquisitions and maintenance from the current $300,000 to approximately $450,000 would be up to the Board of Alders and its finance committee. It is a task the Alders do not take lightly.
A statement from Alder Tyisha Walker (D-23), President of the New Haven Board of Alders and Alder Alphonse J. Paolillo, Jr. (D-17), Majority Leader of the Board of Alders, reads in part: “As the stewards of the public's monies we will continue to evaluate future asks on a case by case basis and make the decision that is in the best interests of our residents and puts our employees in the best possible position to do their job well and safely.”
The Board of Alders said it supports upgrading the city's vehicle fleet and wants to make sure every dollar is spent the way it should be.
“Been patient but its gotten to this point when, you know, you can only wait so long," said Miller.
Though the police union would prefer swift action, the Board of Alders is under no immediate deadline to act. Alders said they would be discussing future funding in the weeks ahead. Final approval is up to the mayor.