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Birmingham Seeks $2 Million to Replace and Repair ‘Aging’ Police Vehicles

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The City of Birmingham is seeking $2 million from the Department of Justice for the acquisition of 25 new patrol vehicles for BPD, according to city officials. (File)

By Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson | For The Birmingham Times

With the Birmingham Police Department vehicles, on average, over the standard mileage of 120,000 and many in need of replacement, the city is seeking $2 million from the Department of Justice for the acquisition of 25 new patrol vehicles for BPD, according to city officials.

The City Council identified the “aging fleet” as one of its priorities during a trip to the National League of Cities Conference last week in Washington D.C. saying a number of the vehicles are “in need of replacement and repairs to aid with call times and day-to-day operations.”

“When we have these vehicles running three shifts a day, depending on how the shifts are working, all day, basically they rack up miles very quickly,” said City Councilor Hunter Williams on Tuesday. “We are trying to make moves where we can have the number of vehicles where some cars can sit out a shift. At the end of the day cars are not made to run 24/7 … an engine is not made to do that.

In 2023, the Birmingham Police Department responded to 442,396 calls, “putting a substantial strain” on the current vehicle fleet, according to the council.

An additional 25 vehicles might not sound like a lot but an extra $2 million can go a long way, Williams said. “…  the last thing we need to have is a police department that doesn’t have a vehicle that responds to a call … The call volume is very high for BPD … however, it’s less the call volume, it’s more of that the police vehicles are used 24 hours a 7 days a week and they don’t get a rest until they are taken in for service.”

Calls made to Mayor Woodfin’s office and BPD for comment were unsuccessful.