SPANISH FORT, Ala. (WKRG) – Typically, these new vehicles take about four to six months to arrive, but this time around the department has been waiting for 16 months. Six black, unmarked Chevy Tahoes are now parked outside of the Spanish Fort Police Department.

“Having to wait almost an extra year for our vehicles put us in a bad position where we were having to maintain older vehicles that we would’ve put out of service. We were dumping lots of money into then to keep them up and running,” said Chief John Barber.

The vehicles were ordered last March, and once equipped, graphics will be added before they’re put into service. Chief Barber says officers put, on average, 25,000 miles a year on each vehicle and it doesn’t take long before they need to be replaced.

“The vehicle is normally running the entire shift. If he’s sitting stationary running radar, or on a call, whatever it might be the vehicle is always being run and again we run our vehicles different than a civilian would,” said Barber.

The department is unexpectedly down a vehicle after a cruiser was totaled last Saturday in a crash on Highway 31. Chief Barber says the officer is recovering from injuries at home and once he returns he’ll be issued one of the new units.

He says he’s constantly having to look ahead since supply chain issues are ongoing and surprises are bound to happen. Luckily, though, the department is fully-staffed, but soon another position could be added. Chief Barber is already planning to order more vehicles to stay prepared.

“Going into the next fiscal year we believe we’re going to have an additional officer position. We’re growing and so we’ll be looking to hire and always looking for qualified candidates to come see us,” Chief Barber explained.