New cars for Kimball police force - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

New cars for Kimball police force

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KIMBALL, TN. (WRCB) -- At the Kimball city impound lot, the grass is growing around four police cars that aren't moving.

It's been two months since a hailstorm caused serious damage to the fleet, cracking a windshield, busting out tail lights and shattering window rain guards.

Lt. Gary Rowe says, "They were more than seven years old. The mileage was creeping up and so were repair costs."

The storm sidelined the cars cosmetically, but they still run fine.

An insurance adjuster says the fleet wasn't worth the repair bill.

Instead of having dent-riddled cars on patrol, the city totaled the cars out and bought them back for $2,500 a piece.

The goal was to use them as back up units in extreme cases, but the uninsured cars carry a heavy liability policy when tax dollars are paying for them.

It was a risk the city didn't want to take.

"The town has bought them back," Lt. Rowe says. "They will never be operated as a police car. No."

Adjusting to sharing vehicles has become a bit difficult as well.

"We had to keep switching out cars after every shift and it puts a little bit of strain on you because your car becomes your office," Rowe says.

The city found more than $200,000 in its public safety fund to buy eight new Dodge Chargers.

New colors, faster cars, and no more doubling up.

"No one officer is built the same, so you make you car fit your needs and yeah, it is a little inconvenient, but we worked through it," Rowe says.

Each car costs about $27,000 and should be available to the force soon.

The old squad cars will be sold at a public auction, which is set for May 26.

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