The department's new four-wheel-drive vehicles, complete with a sporty new black-and-white paintjob and agency logo, can be seen at Ringgold City Hall, and have already turned a few heads when seen around town.
“That's a pretty awesome ride,” said Ringgold resident Kirk Abernathy, after seeing the vehicle roar down Nash-ville Street. “Definitely the baddest police vehicle I've ever seen.”
Police chief Dan Bilbrey said the department was awarded the two Humvees in August after applying for them via government surplus.
“The surplus vehicles were donated, and didn't cost the department anything,” Bilbrey said. “They'll only be used on a limited basis, and if the military were to need them back for whatever reason, they'd be returned of course.”
After the vehicles were brought to Ringgold from Macon, Ga., the department was awarded a private grant of $3,000 by Norfolk Southern to assist with upgrades to the vehicles.
“The grant we received went a long way in helping us get the vehicles set up with the necessary emergency equipment and the minor parts needed to place the vehicles in service,” Bilbrey said. “There's no real out-of-pocket expense required from the department with these vehicles other than the cost of fuel. But, no more than the vehicle will be used, the cost is really minimal as it pertains to the fuel.”
The Humvees will be used in emergency situations such as the April 2011 tornado, inclement weather, school functions, parades and special events.
“Before this donation, our agency didn't have any off-road vehicles,” Bilbrey said. “Even during the tornado in 2011, officers used their own personal off-road vehicles, so the Humvees will be there if a such scenario were to present itself in the future. The vehicles aren't expected to have to be used too often, but it's good to have them just in case the need arises.”
The new looks the Humvees are sporting was done by Rick Worley of Rick Worley & Son Inc. Automotive Colli-sion in Ringgold, who donated the supplies and labor for job.
“The department really appreciates the time, effort, and generosity of Rick,” Bilbrey said. “The vehicles look great, and they really did wonderful job with them.”