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Fri, Nov. 22

Prescott Valley Police to get new undercover vehicle
Public recognizes current vehicle’s damage, bullet holes

Prescott Valley Town Council members viewed a photo of the Police Department’s current PANT vehicle, known by drug dealers because of damage from collisions and bullet holes. Council approved purchase of a newer vehicle. (Sue Tone/Tribune)

Prescott Valley Town Council members viewed a photo of the Police Department’s current PANT vehicle, known by drug dealers because of damage from collisions and bullet holes. Council approved purchase of a newer vehicle. (Sue Tone/Tribune)

Informants can spot the undercover vehicle by its collision-damaged back passenger door and the bullet holes in the driver’s door and tailgate. That makes it not very effective for its purpose, Prescott Valley Police Chief Bryan Jarrell told council members at the April 25 council meeting.

Jarrell presented a comprehensive case for replacing the vehicle used by Partners Against Narcotic Trafficking Task Force (PANT) detectives. Council unanimously approved up to $24,000 for the purchase of a new vehicle and the necessary ancillary equipment.

The current vehicle, a 2007 Toyota Tundra, has sustained extensive damage from two crashes, has 120,000 miles on it, and numerous problems, Jarrell said. He outlined some of the mechanical issues.

• Failing suspension.

• Inoperable airbags.

• 9-year-old tires; three have nails, screws lodged in them.

• No overhead emergency lights.

• Air-conditioning barely works.

• Failing fuel pump.

• Cracked windshield.

• Driver’s side rear passenger door does not open.

The nature of the damages to the vehicle makes it not only unsafe, but very conspicuous to the public.

“Numerous suspects have told detectives that most of the drug dealers and users in the area know this vehicle is used by a PANT detective,” Jarrell said. “It’s been driven more than nine years. Interestingly, we can’t get informants to get into the truck because they know it’s known and they don’t want to be seen in it.”

While doing surveillance duty, people have come up and taken photos of the vehicle, he added.

Jarrell wouldn’t offer specifics of what vehicles he may be looking at with a local car dealer — that defeats the purpose of the undercover aspect — but he did say he would like to purchase a newer model SUV or pickup and add the requisite emergency communications equipment.

In answer to a question by Mayor Kell Palguta, Jarrell said the current vehicle would be returned to the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) inventory list, as it originally was a RICO forfeiture vehicle.

Council approved the request for up to $24,000 from contingency funds.

In other action, council approved:

• A contract with General Acrylics for four pickleball courts at the Granville Unit 6 Park.

• Extension of two grant-funded water projects: a Prescott AMA outreach brochure and erosion control.

• An agreement with PROS Consulting for Parks and Recreation Master Plan for $109,310.

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