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Town’s Car-Poor Police Force Ready To Roll Again

August 24, 1985

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ When the city of Weleetka last needed a police car, Police Chief Ronnie Porter got one by making a televised plea on the ″Tonight Show with Johnny Carson″ and ″Hee Haw.″

However, a drunken driver smashed into the donated police cruiser Aug. 2, putting the city’s police force on foot again.

This time Porter turned for help to the city of Tulsa, about 50 miles to the north, and a deal on a surplus car at a bargain price was approved Friday.

″I got to thinking, big cities have surplus cars,″ Porter said.

Tulsa officials said they had a 1981 Ford Fairmont, replete with lights, siren and 70,000 miles, about to be sold for surplus.

Porter said the price - $750 - was right.

The Tulsa City Commission on Friday approved the sale. Police and Fire Commissioner Roy Gardner said the sale was for a good cause, ″the infamous chief of police of Johnny Carson fame.″

The Weleetka Police Department cannot buy a new cruiser because its budget totals only $35,000, Porter said.

After the chief made his televised pleas in 1983, a Toronto man donated a used cruiser.

Porter told the nation that it was impossible to catch speeders because his dilapidated police car couldn’t travel faster than about 35 mph.

After the car came from Canada, the old one was donated to the town of Morris after tornadoes in 1984 destroyed the Morris police fleet.

″I think they put a new motor in it, painted it black and white and they’re still driving it,″ Porter said.

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