Friday, October 31, 2014

Sheriff planning patrol car shuffle in fleet

By ABBY ECKEL, Herald Staff Writer | 2/5/2014

Jeff Richards is trying to stretch the county’s dollars as much as possible, he said.

To rotate in two or possibly three staff-driven Dodge Chargers for deputy use, Richards, Franklin County sheriff, is looking to buy surplus vehicles for staff positions, he recently told the Franklin County Board of Commissioners.

Jeff Richards is trying to stretch the county’s dollars as much as possible, he said.

To rotate in two or possibly three staff-driven Dodge Chargers for deputy use, Richards, Franklin County sheriff, is looking to buy surplus vehicles for staff positions, he recently told the Franklin County Board of Commissioners.

The sheriff’s office has a $50,000 line item in its budget for the purchase of new vehicles so it can rotate out Crown Victoria models as it converts its fleet of deputy vehicles to Dodge Chargers, he said. That $50,000 would only cover the cost of purchasing two brand new vehicles, but wouldn’t leave enough left over to equip the Chargers being converted to deputy positions, he added.

“Last year in 2013, we purchased three new vehicles, and the plan was that those would be rotated into patrol,” Richards said. “We’re probably only going to be able to rotate two in, but we’re hoping for three ... it depends on what we’re able to get and how much we’re going to have to spend on cars.”

He’s looking to get vehicles that will last the longest for the staff positions, he said, to extend the time of their use.

“We’re looking to get SUVs or pick-ups,” he said. “Those have longer life cycles and in a staff position those have longer cycles anyway. So hopefully this will help spread out the time and lengthen the replacement cycle.”

New vehicles purchased start out in staff positions, Richards said, so the vehicles can get broken in before being put on the road full time.

“The intent of buying new vehicles and putting them in staff positions before going into patrol is it gives them about a year to break in and get extra time on that warranty,” he said. “Whereas if you put it in patrol right off the bat, you’re going to mile it out real fast, and it’s not going to have much break-in time because it’s going to get driven hard from the start.”

Money left from the $50,000 after surplus vehicles have been purchased will go toward equipping the Chargers that will be used by deputies, Richards said.

“[The Chargers] are going to need cameras, cages and we’ll take equipment from vehicles being replaced, but we’ll use as much of that as we can,” he said. “The problem is that that equipment has a life cycle like the vehicle does, and we need to start replacing that equipment so we have operating equipment in our vehicles.

“We know we’re not going to get everything we need, but this is a way for us to stretch that money as far as we can,” Richards said. “And then as we’re building budgets in the future, we have to take into consideration the life cycle of all that equipment.”

The Franklin County Board of Commissioners voted Jan. 29 to waive the $7,500 purchasing policy that requires the sheriff to get permission from the commission before purchases. The sheriff can purchase the used or surplus vehicles so long as the purchase price does not exceed fair market value of the vehicle or vehicles and the total expenditure or expenditures does not exceed the adopted budget authority for the sheriff’s budget, according to county documents.

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