NEW BEDFORD — Mayor Jon Mitchell and Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro announced significant investments in the New Bedford Police Department at a press conference Tuesday afternoon at police headquarters.

The announcement included 11 new police cruisers and an investment of approximately $566,000 in free cash, or unused funds from the previous fiscal year. With 43 front-line cruisers purchased since 2014, the New Bedford Police Department has replaced its front-line uniform vehicles with these significant investments.

The Mayor and Chief, joined by Ward 1 City Councilor Brad Markey, also highlighted the $7.6 million approved by the City Council to upgrade and replace the City’s public safety radio communications, including fiber infrastructure, design, and implementation.

In addition, the Police Department has invested more than $100,000 in other equipment, purchasing portable radios, including with an equipment grant, as well as 40 active shooter kits. These kits contain ballistic protection for officers facing crisis situations and medical kits to render medical assistance to treat victims of these incidents.

There are also significant investments, both planned and underway, for Police Department facilities. The City Council has approved the construction of the South End Public Safety Center, the first new fire and police station built in the city in decades, which will break ground later this year.

An updated sally port, the structure used for secure entrance to the department for individuals in custody, is currently being constructed at police headquarters at 871 Rockdale Avenue. The formerly used sally port was open to the elements and had become inoperable due to outdated gate equipment; the new structure will be a secure, drive-through facility with a remodeled booking area on the interior of the station to improve officer safety.

“Public safety is the first priority of city government, and that includes investing in equipment and facilities to give officers the tools they need to do their jobs,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell. “Replacing aging police vehicles, updating our communication system and providing upgraded facilities are all necessary investments for the Police Department.”

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