House unanimously passes Merski bill to help police departments acquire vehicles

Would provide fixed price for used state vehicles prior to auction

HARRISBURG, Oct. 3 – Legislation passed by the House today would make it easier for police departments struggling with tight budgets to obtain used police vehicles, according to the bill’s author, state Rep. Bob Merski.

Merski, D-Erie, said H.B. 251 would create a program that would allow local or regional police to purchase used state police pursuit vehicles – which are often used on the highway and recycled more frequently to avoid logistical issues that can arise if the vehicle breaks down – at a fixed price before they are auctioned to the public.

“This legislation is a result of working with our local police departments in Erie County and their ideas for utilizing resources. We should be prioritizing and capitalizing on every opportunity to extend the life of taxpayer-funded initiatives. Programs like the one that would be created via my legislation would ultimately lessen the burden on taxpayers when it comes to vehicle replacements for local police departments.

“Additionally, providing local police departments with options to upgrade their police vehicle fleet gives them another tool in their toolkit as they make community-based decisions with constrained budgets. This proposal is a win-win for local municipalities and Pennsylvania taxpayers, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the state Senate to get this proposal one step closer to becoming law.”

The bill would require the Pennsylvania State Police to allocate up to 10% of its available used pursuit vehicle inventory for the program. Regional and local departments would be able to submit a “wish-list” of desired PSP vehicles to the state Department of General Services so it can be notified if such a vehicle becomes available for sale.

The bill passed unanimously and now heads to the state Senate for consideration.