Mike Helton

Fort Oglethorpe Police Chief Mike Helton discusses the purchase of a new police vehicle with the City Council on Monday, Dec. 11. (Catoosa News photo/Adam Cook)

The Fort Oglethorpe City Council has unanimously approved its police department's request to purchase a new patrol vehicle after one was lost in a fire earlier this fall.

On Monday night, Dec. 11, Police Chief Mike Helton addressed the council expressing his desire to buy a new vehicle for the fleet using insurance and other departmental funds.

"My office brings to you a recommendation tonight to purchase a vehicle to replace one that we lost on Oct. 28 of this year to a fire incident that occurred," Helton said.

Helton said he discussed the matter with the city attorney and city manager, and that the department garnered a little more than $10,000 in insurance money from the totaled vehicle.

"The reimbursements from our insurance carriers ... that amount that we received totaled the amount of $10,605.99," Helton said. "We would like to recommend the purchase of this vehicle to replace the 2010 Crown Victoria that burned. The remaining balance for this purchase would be 19,507.01."

Helton said the purchase would include some protective gear for the vehicle.

"The only exception would be one thing we're adding, some wraps on the front of the car," Helton said. "These wraps are designed to help protect the head lighting systems. We found through talking with neighboring agencies that if those head lighting systems get damaged, they're $1,000 each to replace, so to protect those, we spent $278 on some wraps to help cover some of those possible sources of damage."

Rather than make the purchase through SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) funds, Helton proposed using budgeted money that already exists in the police department.

"Normally we would recommend vehicles being purchase from SPLOST, but we'd like to save the SPLOST funds knowing that we have funds available on our 2017 general budget," Helton said. "We'd like to take that $19,507.01 from our police department general fund and complete the purchase this year."

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009. He can be reached at The Catoosa County News office at 706-935-2621 and by email at acook@npco.com.