Vehicle Will Be Used For Education, Outreach, Officials Say
The Harrodsburg Police Department is buying a Dodge Hellcat.
At their regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 25, the Harrodsburg City Council voted unanimously to approved purchasing a 2023 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody for $100,430. The money is to be taken from the city’s alcohol regulatory tax.
The car will not be used for routine police work but for community outreach and drug and alcohol awareness. Officials say the Hellcat will have DARE stickers and be displayed in car shows, and other events, such as the citizens academy which begins Oct. 16.
“It allows us to connect with the community,”insisted Chief Tim Hurt. “That Hellcat is definitely an eye-catcher.”
“This is a whole lot of money to spend on a car that’s going to be used as a bulletin board,” said Commissioner Marvin “Bubby” Isham.
Hurt said the HPD’s hands are tied in what they can with the alcohol tax funds. They are limited by statute to only use 18 percent of the funds for equipment, which is based on the number of calls related to alcohol. The rest can only be used for alcohol and drug education and has to be spent by the end of the year.
Someone asked if the money could be used to buy a police dog, but officials said no. “It has to be alcohol related,” said Laura Peyton, senior clerk at the HPD.
“We’ve tried to come up with all kinds of ideas,” said Commissioner Missy Banks, who oversees the police department. “These are the best options we could think.”
The truck the HPD will be used to haul equipment to events. The Hellcat will also be used one day a week for alcohol related enforcement such as inspections and DUI checkpoints.
“It’s a lot of money, yes, but if we don’t spend it, we have to give it back,” Banks said.
Isham also worried about the city’s liability.
“We can’t have this car flying up and down the road,” Isham said.
Mayor Sam Carr called for a role call vote and the motion passed unanimously.
“I’m going to trust you,” Isham said before voting yes.
The HPD also sought permission to buy a 2024 Dodge Ram 2500 for $89,004 with money from the city’s alcohol regulatory tax. The truck would be used to haul equipment to community events. City Attorney Norrie Currens recommended rebidding the truck with language informing dealers they could sell a 2024 truck. The original bid was for a 2023.
In other business, the commission held a special-called meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 20, where they gave first reading to the new tax rates and approved hiring Larry Wesley as an assistant police chief at $32 per hour, pending background check, drug and alcohol test. Wesley’s hire is effective Oct. 2, pending approval from the Kentucky Public Pensions Authority.
“I want to get the right people in the right places,” Chief Hurt said. “I’m tired of the police department being a stepping stone. The guys come in, get their certification, and then they go.”
He said Wesley, who served with Somerset for 27 years and as chief deputy with the Pulaski Sheriff’s Office, had the capability to get the department “what young law enforcement officers are looking for.” Hurt said Wesley was “very knowledgable” about policy writing and grant writing.
Wesley called the HPD “an exciting and challenging place.”
“Given an opportunity, I’ll do my best,” Wesley said.