SOUTH FULTON, Ga. — This week's school shooting in Texas shined a light on the importance of a quick police response, but law enforcement can't respond quickly if their vehicles break down.
The City of South Fulton Council approved millions of dollars in funding to purchase dozens of police vehicles. They said the new vehicles are desperately needed, and 11Alive News even saw a South Fulton police officer waiting with his broken-down vehicle while working on this story.
We also saw a Crown Victoria with a busted headlight and another police car with a crooked bull bar in the precinct on Old National Highway.
“We just wanted to make sure our officers had good, working cars," City of South Fulton Mayor khalid said.
On Saturday evening, a City of South Fulton Police officer had to wait for a tow truck to give him a jump when the older vehicle broke down.
“We’ve inherited cars and fire engines, million-dollar fire engines, that are 10, 12 years old," khalid said.
The City of South Fulton was founded in 2017 and got its emergency equipment from Fulton County.
“Usually these cars run for about five years, seven years, so they’ve run well past their lifetimes," the mayor added.
That's why he and city council this week approved $2.1 million in funding to purchase 30 new police vehicles.
“They’re running a lot of equipment," Mayor khalid said. "There’s computers and all kinds of systems in there. We just wanted to make sure our officers had everything they need to respond to our citizens’ concerns.”
“By updating our fleet and increasing our assigned vehicles to officers, we anticipate lowering our maintenance costs and enhance accountability of vehicle damage. We would also be able to keep a good inventory of rotation vehicles in the event of repairs or accidents," City of South Fulton Police Chief Keith Meadows said.
New 2020 Ford Explorer pursuit utility vehicles will have the latest computers, cameras, and lights. The city will replace some of the old fleet in an effort to avoid having police vehicles breaking down.
“Our cars will be outfitted with the latest technology to really help our officers not only respond to crime, but also prevent crimes and reduce crime," khalid added.
As of now though, there's no word on when the new vehicles will come in.
The City of South Fulton is rapidly growing and is now Metro Atlanta's second-most populated municipality with more than 108,000 residents.