The Belfast Police Department received approval to purchase a 2013 Chevrolet Caprice patrol vehicle for $23,461, Tuesday, Dec. 18.

Dutch Chevrolet-Buick of Belfast was the lowest bidder by $756 and the company was recommended by Police Chief Mike McFadden to be awarded the bid. However, in a memo to councilors, McFadden acknowledges the bidding process was complicated by an error in the letters sent to potential bidders.

“The initial cause of the confusion was that somehow when I printed out the bid letters to each of the dealerships some of the letters obtained language regarding the fact that the police department was looking to trade a car in; however, most of the letters did not include that language,” McFadden wrote in a memo to councilors.

McFadden said he believed he was working on the letter that contained the correct trade in information but then opened a second letter that did not contain the trade in information. He then proceeded to change some information in that second letter, which he mistakenly sent to some of the dealerships.

After being made aware of his error by Fuller Chevrolet of Rockland, he contacted the three other dealerships that submitted bids and ask them if they could make an adjustment to their bid to accommodate the value of the trade in, which they did.

“I’m embarrassed because I made a mistake,” McFadden said.

The new cruiser will replace a 2009 Chevrolet Impala that has over 120,000 miles on it. Part of the cost for the new cruiser will be off set by trading in that Impala for nearly $3,000.

McFadden said the Caprice is larger than the Impala and is created specifically for police work. He noted they include additional safety features, such as eight standard air bags for multiple points of impact.

More information, including images, of the Chevrolet Caprice can be found at

McFadden said, space is a significant driving factor in looking at new cruisers because of the amount of equipment that needs to be in the vehicles. In the past, the cruisers contained a radio, radar unit, siren and control boxes; however, now the vehicles contain those components, as well as a camera, computer, two weapons, a repeater and other devices.

He also priced out consumable parts, such as brakes, and discovered the Caprice components are cheaper to replace than the Impala.

City Manager Joseph Slocum said he reviewed the process and felt confident none of the bidders knew the amounts other the other bids.

“I’m comfortable with this,” Slocum said.

Councilor Mike Hurley acknowledged the error was a “small mistake” and motioned for the bid to be awarded to Dutch Chevrolet-Buick. Before a vote was taken, Councilor Nancy Hamilton noted she missed the Ford Crown Victoria’s the department used before.

Funding for the cruiser comes from the police department’s purchase of equipment line item, which Administrative Assistant Jennika Lundy contains a little over $29,000.

Dutch Chevrolet-Buick estimated the vehicle would be available nine to 11 weeks after the bid is awarded.

The bid was approved and awarded unanimously to Dutch Chevrolet-Buick of Belfast.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at