Committee approves Merski bill to help police departments purchase vehicles

Would create program requiring pre-auction direct sales at fixed prices

HARRISBURG, March 17 – A new bill that would make it easier for local and regional police departments to purchase pursuit vehicles was unanimously approved today by the House State Government Committee, according to the prime sponsor, state Rep. Bob Merski. 

Merski, D-Erie, said H.B. 648 would require the state Department of General Services – which sells used Pennsylvania State Police vehicles at public auctions – to create a program for selling used police pursuit vehicles directly to local and regional police departments at a fixed price prior to auctioning them.

“The pandemic has created budget woes for police departments throughout the state, but despite strained resources, departments face the same demands for public safety,” Merski said. “With the cost of new cruisers often a major obstacle, my bill would give departments a leg up on a feasible alternative – purchasing used police pursuit vehicles at fixed prices. The program would provide a financial lifeline for departments as they carry out their responsibilities to protect the public.”

Merski said the program would allow police departments to submit a “wish-list” of desired state police vehicles to DGS so it can be notified if such a vehicle becomes available for sale.

Today’s committee action means the bill can move to the full House for consideration.