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Charles Town P.D. cruisers

February 16, 1997

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Thanks to some fancy dealing the Charles Town Police Department is wheeling around in two additional cruisers.

The police department traded a pair of obsolete radios to the Loudoun County, Va., Sheriff's Department for two used cruisers.

"They're wheeling and dealing and keeping this place alive by doing this kind of thing," said Police Chief Mike Aldridge.

The sheriff's department puts cruisers out of service after they have more than 100,000 miles, he said.

Charles Town Police Sgt. R.J. James found out about the surplus cruisers from a friend about a month ago and set up the deal to obtain them for his department.

The Loudoun County Sheriff's Department was going to sell the cruisers for $10 each to the Charles Town Police Department as part of a program to help other police agencies, James said.

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It turned out the Charles Town Police Department had two old radios that Loudoun County needed. The radios had been in storage after the department upgraded to a new system.

The radios are no longer manufactured so Charles Town was able to also help out Loudoun County by providing replacements, said Capt. Louis Brunswick.

Despite having more than 100,000 miles, the two cruisers from Loudoun County are in excellent shape, Brunswick said.

They had been well-maintained over the years.

The Charles Town Police Department now has six cruisers. Two four-wheel drive vehicles, including the K-9 vehicle with more than 200,000 miles, will be sold and the money from them will pay for painting the Loudoun County cruisers white and putting on the Charles Town Police Department decals, Aldridge said.

The four-wheel drive vehicles were too costly to maintain and had too many miles on them for the department to keep, Aldridge said.

Until the painting is completed, the Charles Town Police Department cruisers are a hodgepodge of colors - white, blue, gray and brown - since the department has had to obtain several of them used from other departments over the years.

"Eventually they all will be white," Aldridge said.

One cruiser will be fitted with a special cage for the department's police dog, James said. The funding for the cage is coming from cash seized from drug dealers and forfeited by the courts to the department, Aldridge said.

The police department also is currently working on obtaining an Army surplus Chevrolet Blazer, part of a federal government program to give police departments equipment no longer needed with the military downsizing, James said.

The Blazer would be used in snow emergencies, Aldridge said.

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