WILMINGTON—City council will soon authorize the purchase of a new fleet of pitch black Dodge Chargers.
The $500,060 purchase of 20 vehicles appears on the city’s consent agenda, which are items that do not typically require further discussion to be approved.
Since 2014, Wilmington has incorporated black Dodge Chargers in its catalog of police vehicles. Wilmington police vehicles have been transitioning to a black model with white detailing and away from the traditional white model with blue and gold detailing the city incorporated for over a decade.
According to Linda Thompson, spokesperson for the Wilmington Police Department, the transition is a matter of preference.
“We like the design, the visibility shows up better,” Thompson said. “I think it costs less to design, instead of a white car turning it black and white.”
When the new design was first introduced in 2014, council member Laura Padgett said she was “perturbed” by the new look. Padgett said the appearance was “intimidating.”
8 years or 100,000 miles
When a Wilmington police vehicle racks up 100,000 miles or has been on the road for eight years —whichever comes first — it will be decommissioned.
Malissa Talbert, spokesperson for the city of Wilmington, said decommissioned police vehicles are housed in the city garage and put up for auction on govdeals.com.
She said the profit made from decommissioned vehicles goes toward purchasing new ones.
Talbert said decommissioning police vehicles at 100,000 miles gives the city a greater resale value than decommissioning the vehicles at a higher mileage.
“We have found that we’re able to get more resale value out of it,” she said. “It’s a better longterm investment than to try to maintain them.”
Ilderton Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram in High Point, North Carolina, has the state contract for providing new police chargers. It has been in contract with North Carolina in providing government vehicles on and off since the ’70s.
The dealership’s director of fleet sales, Catherine Martin, said that departments across the state have been transitioning toward the pitch black model of Dodge Chargers in recent years.
“I have noticed a significant increase in black,” Martin said. “I think it’s just preference, graphics may look better on them.”
The dealership will remain in business with the state until next fall when its three-year contract expires. Martin said the contract gives Wilmington Police Department a discount of $11,000 per 2018 pitch black Dodge Charger, which they have been quoted to purchase for $24,147 each.
“Its a deal,” Martin said. “Civilians can’t actually buy this package at all; it is only available to government entities.”
When Ilderton Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram’s contract expires next year, the dealership plans to re-submit a bid.
“It is our intention to win the contract again,” she said.
Johanna Ferebee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @j__ferebee on Twitter