Councilman: Miscommunication in Focus purchase - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Councilman: Miscommunication in Focus purchase

Posted: Updated:

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- After Chattanooga Police officers were forced to drive Ford Focus model cars, we wanted answers from the General Services Manager Paul Page.

Eyewitness News was told he would be available in the afternoon, but his secretary said Page had an immediate call outside the county.

We talked with Page by phone who said the purchase was a cost-saving measure for the city because of the $13,000 price tag that comes with a 2010 Ford Focus.

The cars are to be used on an "as needed" basis.

So far, 50 are in the city's fleet, with 30 of those going to the police department.

Several detectives have complained the car is too small and took their concerns to city council.

Councilman Andrae McGary said, "You want to make sure they are as safe as possible, you want to make sure the car can perform the job. If the car can't perform the job, well it's the wrong fit."

Page said the idea to buy the Ford Focus was a mutual agreement between the city and former Police Chief Freeman Cooper, but Cooper couldn't be reached for comment.

Current Chief Bobby Dodd has said he was not informed or involved in the purchase; a breakdown in communication according to Councilman McGary.

"We have three or four lines of communication and that is why I mentioned there is some miscommunication," said McGary. "One party says they did this, the other says no they didn't."

During a size demonstration to Channel 3, Sergeant Craig Joel stuffed most of his equipment in the trunk, and the rest on the floor.

The Focus can't be fitted with police lights unless it's the small and more expensive LED lights.

It also has a three out of five-star crash test rating for side impact. 

We do know the contract with Ford expires by 2013 and right now the city is looking at Chevy sedans.

The city also has purchased the 2011 Ford Focus which is bigger than the 2010 model, but officers we talked to are skeptical of its size.

Powered by Frankly