Standing with one of two new cars recently acquired by Ticonderoga Town Police are, from left: Chief Mark Johns, Essex County Stop DWI Director Michael Mascarenas and County Clerk/Stop DWI Coordinator Joseph Provoncha. The car behind them is a 2010 Chevrolet Tahoe police intend to use on Ticonderoga's many back roads in the winter.

Ticonderoga Town Police have replaced part of their aging fleet of vehicles using money from the Essex County Stop DWI Program and the County District Attorney's Drug Forfeiture Account.

Police got a 2010 Chevrolet Tahoe SUV from Stop DWI and a 2010 Ford Crown Victoria sedan from the DA's Office that will take the place of 2005 and 2004 vehicles.

Essex County Stop DWI Director Michael Mascarenas said Ticonderoga Police have been leaders in driving-while-intoxicated enforcement.

"It is our priority to give the local police departments the support they need to deter drinking and driving in their towns. Our goal is to coordinate a comprehensive DWI counter-measure program."

He said police will be better able to do that with the Tahoe, which is similar to the four-wheel-drive SUVs used by State Police and replaces a 2005 Jeep Cherokee in the Ticonderoga fleet. It will be the only four-wheel-drive vehicle that Ticonderoga Police have, and police say it should be particularly helpful in the winter.

"We're very grateful to both the Essex County Stop DWI Program and the Essex County District Attorney's Office for the financial assistance in obtaining these new vehicles," Ticonderoga Policed Chief Mark Johns said.

He said the Jeep Cherokee was traded in to fund emergency lights, a rear-seat cage and other police equipment on the new Tahoe.

The program's intent is to help police deter drunken driving and alcohol-related traffic injuries and fatalities, Mascarenas said. Ticonderoga Police charged 28 people with DWI last year, and so far this year have arrested 29 motorists for drunken driving.

"Essex County Stop DWI is a self-sufficient program solely operating on fines obtained from drinking and driving convictions," County Clerk/Stop DWI Coordinator Joseph Provoncha said.

The 2010 Ford police got will be used as a detective's vehicle and replaces a 2004 Ford Crown Victoria with 160,000 miles on it.

The unmarked police car was purchased using funds from drug-arrest forfeiture money. Johns said District Attorney Kristy Sprague provided a substantial amount of those funds through the DA's Drug Forfeiture Account, while the remaining money came from police's own forfeiture account.

Johns said both cars were badly needed and couldn't have been afforded otherwise.

"Using funds from drinking and driving violators and drug offenders toward enforcement tools such as these is a great relief for our local taxpayers. The taxpayers will also benefit from replacing the older vehicles in the fleet, which were becoming costly to maintain."

Both vehicles cost about $30,000 each, with the Tahoe to be paid off over three years.

E-mail Lohr McKinstry at: lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

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