By Chris Bavender
The Zionsville Police Dept. has a new tool to fight crime thanks to the Zionsville Fire Dept. A retired ambulance is being retrofitted for criminal investigations after Mayor Tim Haak approved the transfer of the vehicle to the police department.
The vehicle will now be known as ZPD’s Crime Scene response Unit.
ZPD Chief Robert Knox said buying a new vehicle of the same quality would be difficult.
“We had budgeted for a crime scene vehicle for a few years, but then the option of taking the retired ambulance came along and we know how well the fire department took care of it, so when it became available for free it really was a no-brainer,” Knox said. “It’s so much more than I could have budgeted for – it’s built to specs, it’s heavier and has so many compartments. It saved us a lot of money instead of going out to have something made.”
The vehicle will be used for evidence processing and will be equipped with the tools evidence technicians need to respond to a crime scene. All evidence from a crime scene can be collected and processed within the vehicle, which will include a computer, printers, tables and more.
“The (crime scene) vehicle we have is an old heating and cooling-type vehicle and it has served its purpose. But it’s just a box truck with shelving in it, and we have a lot of equipment – generators, tools, portable lights, bags of evidence processing items – that were just loose,” Knox said. “Now, all that equipment and other items will have its own compartments and won’t be rattling around on some shelving.”
Sgt. Joe Dennemann, ZPD’s lead evidence tech, will work out of the vehicle along with other officers and detectives.
“The evidence techs will know it will be reliable and should last a very long time,” Knox said. “It’s one more asset not only for the department but for the whole town.”