December 3, 2012

Wilton to buy 4-wheel-drive police vehicle

By Kaitlin Schroeder
Staff Writer

WILTON -- A four-wheel drive vehicle for the police department has been a priority ever since Heidi Wilcox became chief.

click image to enlarge

Wilton Police Chief Heidi Wilcox

Staff file photo by David Leaming

The department has trouble responding to emergencies on winter weather or dirt roads because cruisers don't have enough traction.

"There are times when we've lost the potential to catch a suspect," she said.

In one instance, Wilcox said, she used her own truck to get to an area.

Wilton selectmen will review bids Tuesday, Dec. 18, for a four-wheel-drive vehicle, which Wilcox said could cost between $22,000 and $26,000.

The Wilton town office sent out a request for bids to car dealers Nov. 21 for either a four-wheel-drive or front-wheel-drive vehicle for the department, Town Manager Rhonda Irish said.

Wilcox said the department has been relying on the sheriff's department for situations that require four-wheel drive, but it can take up to two hours for the sheriff's department to respond.

"They've been good about coming down and helping us out, but they have their own calls to respond to," she said.

Franklin County sheriff Lt. Niles Yeaton said the department does not get a lot of requests to assist Wilton with a four-wheel drive vehicle, but it is one of the main agencies to assist Wilton.

The sheriff's department's fleet has 14 four-wheel drive vehicles, Yeaton said.

With winter approaching, Yeaton said, it's important for every agency to have at least one four-wheel drive response vehicle.

"It's our job as emergency responders to be out and about when people really shouldn't be," he said.

Kaitlin Schroeder-- 861-9252


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