Seized vehicle now fit for a chief
By Eileen Persike
With help from a local collision center, the Rhinelander Police Department has a new patrol car, at almost no cost to taxpayers. The 2013 black Chrysler 300 became city property last spring after it was seized in connection with drug trafficking into the area.
“On Easter Sunday this year, an officer attempted a traffic stop, and the driver fled,” Police Chief Michael Steffes explained. “During the high speed chase, it crashed into a telephone pole causing substantial front end damage to the vehicle.”
The Public Works crew began looking it over to see if the vehicle could be replaced. Dean Olson, owner of Quality Collision in Rhinelander also checked it out and volunteered his time and service and some of the parts to get the car back in working order.
“It took us about a week of work to replace mostly front-end damage,” Olson said. “We’ve done this sort of thing for other police departments in the area.”
Vehicle maintenance director, Officer Chad Brown said vehicle seizure happens more than people might think, although it’s rare to get a nice car with low miles that the department can actually utilize.
“The drug unit seizes a lot of vehicles and ends up using them; a lot of the undercover cars are actually seized vehicles,” Brown said. “We have to keep vehicles for two years before getting rid of them, so this way it saves taxpayers the cost of a new vehicle.”
Chief Steffes said since this car looks different from the others in the fleet, it was decided that it will be his vehicle, to respond to emergency calls and take out for presentations, at minimal cost to the city.