City leases 31 new vehicles for Buffalo Police Department

Lawmakers approve change after shortage in department fleet

Mike Baggerman
February 18, 2020 - 9:00 pm

Buffalo Police cruiser accident at South Elmwood and Chippewa. April 10, 2019 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) – The Buffalo Police Department will soon receive new vehicles in its fleet after the Buffalo Common Council on Tuesday approved the lease of 31 vehicles.

The Buffalo Police Department was “woefully short” of police vehicles, according to past reporting by Investigative Post.

City lawmakers did not approve the leasing of the vehicles until they received clarification from the mayor’s office on the costs associated with leasing the vehicles instead of buying them.

According to the City of Buffalo Department of Administration and Finance, leasing was the best option because it allows the city to acquire more vehicles at one time and allows the city to turn over high-mileage vehicles more frequently.

The city had $650,000 available this year for the purchase of police vehicles. Because each vehicle costs exactly $49,448 to buy outright, the city could have only purchased 13 vehicles. By leasing the vehicles at a lower price, the city was able to lose more than double what they could have bought.

Over a three-year period, the lease agreement will cost the city about $30,000 more than if they were to purchase the 31 vehicles over the same timeframe.

The lease allows the city to buyout the vehicle at $3,500 per vehicle at the end of the lease or sell it at auction and keep any of the value over the $3,500.

“We’re hoping to get those cars as quickly as possible because we know they’re desperately needed,” Councilman Rasheed Wyatt said.

Wyatt said he was shocked upon learning that the city could buy the vehicles for $3,500. He said the city will decide in the future whether leasing will be the better option in the future.

“If we can maintain those cars and keep them in good shape, we can have them for an extended period,” he said. “Right now, it makes a lot of sense because we desperately need the vehicles.”

The vehicles should be in the possession of the city in six months, though they still need to be outfitted for Buffalo Police.

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