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Medford donates used squad cars to Talent police

TALENT — Thanks to the generosity of the Medford Police Department, the next time a Talent police patrol car needs parts, the town may not have to buy new replacements or send a mechanic scurrying around to look for used ones.

Two nonrunning Ford Crown Victoria squad cars were given to the town's police department for use as donor cars when older units need repairs. Both departments use the Crown Victorias, which tend to have the same parts used over a number of years, said Talent Chief Mike Moran.

"With these Medford cars I think we can keep our old, marked units on the road and serviceable and safe," said Moran, a former Medford officer. "We don't want to have officers driving unsafe vehicles. We will have good spare parts, from headlights to axles. It should save us a lot of money."

The Medford City Council approved the donation. Council permission is required whenever donated city property exceeds $250 in value.

"I don't know what it would cost to get them running," said Medford Police Chief Randy Schoen. "They both have about 120,000 miles on them. We'd probably be lucky to get $500 to $700 at an auction." Used police cars have little cash value, Moran said.

"They are pretty well maintained, but they are cop cars," Moran added. "They are driven like cop cars — high speeds, stop and go, out in the weather, probably more miles than the average car." Medford replaces squad cars with new units every three years. By that time, they typically have 90,000 to 120,000 miles on them, said Schoen.

Moran would like to get new squad cars regularly, but said economic conditions may prevent that. The department recently purchased one new car, but a 2003 and 2004 unit each have gone about 75,000 miles. A 2007 car, replaced with insurance money after an accident, has 40,000 miles. One of the cars recently needed a transmission replacement.

Used parts even went into the newly purchased car to help save money. A used black plastic rear seat replaced the upholstered one and a used cage was installed to separate officers from passengers in back, said Moran.

The car transfer is another form of the reciprocal help that law enforcement agencies in the county extend to each other.

"When an agency operates in our end of the county they have an open invitation to use our facilities," said Moran. "We probably benefit more than Medford, but we try to contribute when we can."

Talent assisted Medford police and other agencies during a large-scale raid on a heroin ring on Oct. 4.

"(Talent) provided a couple officers. That's a big deal for them to send two officers for a day given their scale," said Schoen.

Besides the donor cars, Medford also gave Talent an unmarked 1999 Crown Victoria with 88,000 miles for detective work to replace the city's unmarked unit that had 120,000 miles. The agency also gave two running Crown Victorias to the Josephine County Sheriff's Department, which recently added deputies under a grant. Last year it donated cars to the Butte Falls Police Department.

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com.