UVM cops hand over keys
Man in tractor wrecks seven Orleans cruisers
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 22:09
As if he were driving a tank, one Newport farmer used his tractor to roll over seven patrol cars owned by Orleans County officers this summer.
Eighty-five miles away, a lieutenant at UVM police services decided to extend a helping hand.
To assist the officers in replacing their damaged fleet, UVM police donated a vehicle of its own to the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office in Newport, Vt., Lt. Larry Magnant of UVM Police Services said.
“As you can imagine, losing seven patrol cars created a huge liability for the Sheriff’s Department in carrying out their patrol responsibilities and services to their county,” Magnant said.
The episode drained the resources of six local police departments, so five other police organizations stepped in to volunteer their own vehicles, he said.
As it happened, one of the loaned cars from another police department had to be returned the same day the UVM cruiser was donated, making the delivery and timing of the donated vehicle all the more significant, Magnant said.
UVM police had already been planning to replace a patrol car because their vehicle replacement schedule had mandated that they replace a new patrol car during the summer or fall of 2012, he said.
“[Orleans Police] had a tremendous need for a police car that they could immediately put to use — we had one that we were going to be getting rid of,” Magnant said. “It seemed like a perfect match.”
After installing a mobile radio, registering the car and applying the Orleans decal, the former UVM police car was equipped and ready for the Orleans department to use, according to the Newport Daily Express.
The incident necessitating the donation involved Newport resident Roger Pion, who was upset over being charged for marijuana possession and resisted arrest in July. Pion drove his tractor over five cruisers, one van and one unmarked police vehicle, according to ABCnews.com.
Orleans officers were not alerted to the incident until a neighbor dialed 911, but were unable to chase Pion because all their available vehicles had been destroyed, according to CBSnews.com.
Some students said they were unaware of Pion’s tractor tantrum.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” sophomore Rachel Markey said.
Sophomore Allie Cunningham said she agreed that Pion’s stunt was bizarre, but also questioned whether it was UVM’s place to donate a car of its own.
“It’s great that UVM officers are so willing to help, but given the University’s finances we should probably be careful about extending resources to other police departments,” Cunningham said.