The township had been patrolling its rural regions with an all-terrain vehicle it was loaned last year on a trial basis under a government program, but it decided for budgetary reasons not to buy it for $10,000.
Officer Oslick, however, found a funding source under the Operation Ranger program, which recently awarded Collier a 2010 Polaris Ranger utility terrain vehicle.
He presented the township with the key to the $15,000 vehicle at last week’s meeting. The township already has the title.
The award came from U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., of Richmond, Va., maker of Skoal tobacco, which annually gives vehicles to public safety agencies under a corporate giving program.
The company has donated about 400 off-road vehicles nationwide since the program began in 2002.
“It’s definitely an asset that not too many places have,” Officer Oslick said of the six-wheeled, red-and-black utility terrain vehicle, which will help responders reach Collier’s outlying wooded areas as well as patrol the Panhandle Trail.
Though it drives like a car and can reach speeds up to 45 mph, Officer Oslick said, “it’s pretty much like a tank.” To address that, he developed a training program based on the vehicle’s safety manual.
“He was so excited when it came in,” said police Chief Tom Devin. He said Officer Oslick brought one of his daughters on his day off “to take everybody for a ride.”
Collier outfitted the three-seat vehicle with a cab consisting of a windshield, doors and back panel to keep occupants warm and dry, and added lights, sirens and decals.
A towing hitch for up to 2,000 pounds is in the back, and the front has a winch capable of pulling 4,000 pounds. The vehicle also has toolbox loaded with 250 pounds of tools and gear.
Chief Devin said the department is looking for a trailer to transport the vehicle if it is needed in another community.
For his Operation Ranger application, Officer Oslick created a computerized presentation of Collier’s terrain and trail and included information and newspaper articles about search and rescue incidents.
His application received support from U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, and state Sen. John Pippy, R-Moon.