County commissioners approved a request by the sheriff’s office to obtain bids on five new patrol vehicles at the meeting on Monday

Ford County commissioners approved a request by the sheriff’s office to obtain bids on five new patrol vehicles at the meeting on Monday. 

“We’re still trying to get caught back up from past admin on vehicles,” Ford County Sheriff Bill Carr said. “When I took over, we were in the rear with four vehicles. We’re gradually looking forward and working through those in hopes that in the next couple years we get caught back up on our rotation schedule.”

Carr stated that there are currently nine patrol vehicles with more than 100,000 recorded miles. 

“I don’t have my figures in front of me, but I believe we’re roughly half a million miles a year that we run through our office,” said Carr. “I know that the detention side was up near 120,000 miles just on the transport side, then patrol is probably another 300,000, and I know we also had a few deer wrecks this year.”

On top of the excessive amount of recoded miles, two patrol vehicles were severely damaged in a car crash due to recent criminal activity. Carr mentioned that with the direction of taxpayer’s money in mind, he didn’t feel comfortable putting one of the damaged cars back on the streets.

“The vehicles are being repaired, but I’m not comfortable with putting one of them back out there. It’s expensive as far as damage. It would be a good vehicle for somebody else, but I don’t think I’m wanting to run the risk with the county taxpayers liability on throwing it back on patrol status.”

With both factors in mind, Carr suggested that the need for new patrol vehicles is evident.

“We’re running into higher maintenance bills right now,” said Carr. “Some of the cars we’re finding out that, being a patrol vehicle, the front ends are not built like a personal vehicle. These are I want to say aluminum, so there are not a lot of quick fixes to them, we’re finding out. So what might cost me $700 or $800 on a personal vehicle, these are running around $1,400-$1,500, and that’s a good sign for me to start budgeting and replacing them.”

During the report, Carr mentioned that three vehicles were available to be used as trade-ins.

“During the budget process we’ve discussed the transferring of a vehicle into another county department and they set some money aside,” Carr noted. “There’s some money to be transferred there with the vehicle back in the line.”

Commissioner Ken Snook asked how often the sheriff’s department makes these requests. 

“That’s the problem, we got off key long before I took over, I’m guessing around 4 or 5 years ago, and we’re playing catch up somehow,” Carr replied. “There were some practices that we’ve done away with in July of 2015, and so it’s just a difference of administration. I took my administration in a different avenue in which the commission agreed we thought was probably a better course, so we’ve done away with some practices in the past.”

Commissioner Chris Boys then stated that Carr was being very kind.

“I’m thinking I’m being a better steerer to taxpayer money,” said Carr. “With that in mind, I have to look at the safety and security of my staff and the public.”

All three commissioners approved the sheriff’s request to seek bids for these vehicles.