By Conrad Dudderar
Yukon’s newest police vehicles should “hit the streets” within two months after being outfitted with required equipment.
Dana Safety Supply Inc. has been selected to install lights, sirens, consoles, protective cages, and computer mounts in five Chevrolet Tahoes.
The Yukon Police Department will pay $72,378.85 to buy the emergency equipment and upgrade the newly purchased police pursuit vehicles.
Yukon Police Chief John Corn recommended using Dana Safety Supply “to build out” the five new units. The company is a state-contracted vendor.
In November 2022, Yukon Police acquired five 2023 Chevrolet Tahoes from Carter Chevrolet in Okarche. Purchase price was $208,520.
The $41,704 per-unit price did not cover the emergency equipment, which must be installed before these vehicles are deployed on Yukon city streets
Headquartered in Greensboro, Ark., Dana Safety Supply has a large Oklahoma City shop. Many metro-area police agencies use their service, Corn said.
Vice Mayor Jeff Wootton asked why a business outside Yukon is being used for this project.
YPD officials solicited quotes from vendors to outfit the five new Chevy Tahoes.
“We did that, in part, because of the issue we had getting the three (vehicles) we had received earlier in the year timely put onto the street,” Chief Corn explained.
Because of delays in receiving the needed equipment, it took the previous installer many months to fully equip those units.
Outfitting police vehicles is an “extremely” large business, Corn advised council members.
“To the point that there have been at least two national companies move into our state,” he noted. “Both of which are state contract vendors, soliciting business from agencies both state and municipal.
“We asked five companies that do this type of work to give us bids. And asked, in their bid, that they include what the timeline would be to build these vehicles for us. So that we weren’t going to have a large amount of time of them sitting idle, not being able to be used.”
Dana Safety Supply offered an estimated $20,000 “cheaper” labor cost, according to Corn.
“The timeframe is 45-60 days to have our vehicles outfitted,” the police chief added.
It would take Yukon vendors between 45 and 60 days just to receive the equipment – even before installation began.
“And that wasn’t guaranteed – that was an estimate,” Corn said. “They’re at the mercy of buying from a second-party provider and having them motor-freight shipped here.”
Dana Safety Supply has 37 shops nationwide, including its large outfitting facility just south of Edmond.
“What they do is build emergency vehicles – they don’t do anything else,” Corn pointed out. “They have mass inventory. What they don’t have in the Edmond location, they can have motor-freighted from Round Rock, Texas; or Tyler, Texas; or Fort Smith, Ark.
“All their personnel are paid on a corporate basis, so they share technicians and installers.”
The Yukon City Council “always prefers” to use City of Yukon businesses when practical, Mayor Shelli Selby emphasized.
“But when it becomes a time issue, then that matters,” she said.
SAFETY AND TECHNOLOGY
Once they’re outfitted, the 2023 Chevy Tahoe police pursuit vehicles will be used by YPD officers to patrol city streets. They are designed for high-speed use.
The SUVs will replace some vehicles in the YPD fleet that are about 10 years old.
These new vehicles feature safety enhancements and the latest technology that older patrol vehicles have not had, Deputy Police Chief John Brown said.
Each unit has Chevrolet’s new police package featuring a V8 engine, 20-inch steel wheels to provide more clearance for off-road driving and roomier seats because officers wear utility belts.
Yukon Police were not able to purchase new units during the COVID-19 pandemic due to supply chain issues that caused vehicle shortages at auto dealerships nationwide.
The city council previously approved the new Chevy Tahoe police vehicle purchase, using a state contract. Funds were included in the fiscal year 2022-23 capital budget.