As if criminals weren't enough to deal with, West York Police officers were constantly pulling their own trapped cruisers out of the snow last winter.
But not this year.
Local businesses just put the finishing touches on West York's new commercial utility cargo vehicle. With the community's support, the police department was not only able to acquire the four-wheel drive vehicle, but also paint and fix it up.
The police department acquired the 1984 military CUCV from a sale at the Pennsylvania Federal Surplus Property Program in a Harrisburg warehouse earlier this year.
Although it won't be used for routine patrol, officers will use it for numerous other activities, such as heavy snow patrol, transporting prisoners and community events.
West York council approved the purchase -- about $800 -- in April. Acting Chief Justin Seibel said the vehicle was originally purchased by the federal government for about $37,000. It was assigned to the New Jersey National Guard Unit until it retired with 42,000 miles.
The vehicle has a truck-based front and an ambulance back. All of the parts and
service needed to upgrade the vehicle were donated by local businesses, Seibel said.
The need: Last winter, York City and surrounding communities were pummeled with 80 inches of snow.
West York Police Officers didn't have a four-wheel drive vehicle during the snowstorms and were constantly using chains to free their trapped vehicles. At one point, officers borrowed the fire department's Chevrolet Suburban to patrol during heavy snowfall.
"In the past, we'd chain our Ford Crown Victorias and you'd slide," Seibel said. "The chains would fall off and break. Every time we got stuck in snow banks, we'd have to push the vehicles out. It just slows you down."
The new vehicle also will be used to transport a large number of people or temporarily provide shelter during tragedies until Red Cross can assist on scene. And it will be the face of the department during community events, Seibel said.
Mike Montgomery, Impressive Signs owner, and his team finished lettering the vehicle Dec. 14. The job would typically cost $700, but Montgomery donated his supplies and service.
"We did it to be part of the community," he said.
In addition to Impressive Signs, other businesses that helped include Anderson's Service Center, which towed the vehicle from Harrisburg to York; NAPA, Advance Auto Parts and Dick Hill Auto Parts, which donated parts; and West York Truck and Auto Body, which painted the truck.
-- Reach Amanda Dolasinski at 505-5434 or firstname.lastname@example.org.