Chattanooga Police Dept. donates two patrol cars to Puerto Rico
It's been one year since Hurricane Maria hit the Atlantic, the storm is said to be the worst natural disaster on record to affect Dominica and Puerto Rico. Maria caused catastrophic damage and numerous fatalities.
Clean up is still underway, but for some first responders, getting around is still a challenge. Chattanooga's Police Chief, David Roddy attended a conference earlier this year, and while there, the Commissioner of Law Enforcement of Puerto Rico said they're are in desperate need of police cars and ambulances.
"So if we have the ability to help our brothers and sisters down in Puerto Rico, it's just the right thing to do," Chief Roddy said.
The majority of the first responder vehicles on the island are damaged and unusable, even the materials to fix those vehicles are gone too.
"The lack of upkeep and maintenance on the vehicles because anything you would use preventative to keep those vehicles on the roads, those were damaged in the storm as well," he explained.
Chief Roddy knew Chattanooga could help out in a big way, so he went to the department's facility and fleet manager to see what was available.
"He jumped right on top of it and went around our fleet and pulled some of the vehicles that by what we have in our department is higher mileage but they still have a lot of service left in them," Roddy said.
Two patrol vehicles will go to Guaynabo a city in northern Puerto Rico. They'll be used by the local police department to help recovery efforts from Hurricane Maria.
Chattanooga police received approval from Chattanooga City Council to donate two surplus vehicles, a 2008 and 2010 Crown Victoria.
"CPD is proud to be able to assist fellow officers and citizens of Puerto Rico and we appreciate the support received from city council members to make this happen," said Roddy.
The department looked at the service life and value they had left to see which ones they could donate. Above all, Roddy said it's about serving the community whether here at home or our neighbors in Puerto Rico.
"It was a weighing game, and what we would receive residually for these two vehicles I think is easily offset by the benefit that people of Puerto Rico will receive from them," he said.
The decals and add-on equipment will be removed before they are shipped overseas. Chattanooga will service the vehicles so they are ready to use as soon as they arrive. Officials in Puerto Rico will take care of the costs of delivery.