BRPD fighting with FEMA to replace flood-damaged squad cars
BATON ROUGE - Some Baton Rouge police officers say they are driving in squad cars that could break down any minute.
BRPD says the August flood totaled more than 90 police cars. Now, the city is fighting with FEMA to replace some of the vehicles.
"It puts us at a disadvantage," BRPD spokesperson L'Jean McKneely said.
THe police department was already struggling with replacing an aging fleet, including patrol cars in service since 2006.
"We were already in a poor situation, in which we had cars that needed service," McKneely said.
The city is arguing with FEMA over whether if the cost the federal government should cover is over 90 percent of the value of each used vehicle, or the total it would take to replace each unit with a brand new one.
At a metrocouncil meeting, Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie told council members police cars are not inexpensive, and that $1 million would only put about 40 new vehicles in the fleet.
"The bumpers are falling off some of the vehicles, the air condition isn't working on some of the vehicles," McKneely said. "I know one officer in particular, the vehicle doesn't cool unless he's driving."
Even with assistance from FEMA, the city will have to foot the bill for at least 10 percent of the cost of replacing each vehicle. It's not clear when the
federal government will decide on how much money they're paying.