Merski bill to help police departments afford fleet upgrades heads to House

Committee OKs measure to allow pre-auction, fixed-price purchase of used vehicles

HARRISBURG, June 29 – Local and regional police departments would face fewer obstacles making critical fleet upgrades under legislation the House State Government Committee advanced unanimously on Wednesday, according to the bill’s maker, state Rep. Bob Merski.

Merski, D-Erie, said H.B. 251 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 before auctioning them to the public.

“Every dollar we can save government is a windfall for taxpayers, and that includes large-ticket expenditures like police fleet upgrades, which can pose major obstacles for stretched department budgets,” Merski said. “By giving local and regional police departments a means for purchasing used pursuit vehicles at a fixed price before they go to auction, my bill would help departments meet critical public safety demands while saving taxpayers – a win for everyone.”

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.

The bill now heads to the full House for consideration.

A prior version of the bill was voted out of committee in March 2021.