Lorain police cruiser fleet in bad shape, says union leader

Lorain police cruiser fleet in bad shape, says union leader

LORAIN, OH (WOIO) - The flatbed of a tow truck is usually one of the last places people want to see a police cruiser. This is becoming too common in the city of Lorain.

"This is a weekly occurrence where these cruisers are breaking down. We are constantly dealing with having to jump them," said head of the Lorain Police Union, Kyle Gelenius.

Two cruisers were crashed into in two weeks, totaling each.

Another officer had a car die on him after a service call -- he loaded up into a second car.

"Didn't make it two blocks past the city garage and it died," Gelenius said.

Another two cruisers were towed Friday.

About 65 cruisers, or 2/3 of them are 2010 or older with 100,000 plus miles. Gelenius explained best practices are to retire emergency vehicles after they hit about 90,000 miles.

"The city hasn't ordered a batch of cars since 2013," he said. "It's time."

Mayor Chase Ritenauer says he, too, is frustrated and is trying to work on a solution. He says the city's finances are tight and it may take a couple of months.

"They are looking at an enterprise fleet system. That cost money, and they say there is currently not money appropriated in the budget to purchase police cars," Gelenius said.

Gelenius says it's going to come down to public safety for Lorain citizens.

"Bottom line is when we are coming to help you, you better hope that cruiser doesn't break down," he said.

The union filed a grievance with the city in January. They are expected to go to arbitration in the next couple of months to see if the condition of the cruisers violates the union's contract.

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