In February 2019, the Harvey County Commission approved the purchase of five Ford Interceptors for the department to keep up with the rotation. After almost a full year, Undersheriff Shawn Chapman reported the sheriff's office has received three of those five vehicles (with the other two are currently being transported by rail) — as Chapman and Sheriff Chad Gay came before the commission Tuesday, at its first meeting of the year, with a new set of vehicle bids for 2020.

"They finished some, got them out in service and then had to recall some because things weren't working just right," Chapman said of the delayed vehicles.

As standard operating procedure, the Harvey County Sheriff's Office purchases new vehicles for its fleet each year — cycling those vehicles in to avoid extensive wear and tear on said vehicles and maintain functionality of the fleet.

Due to the issues with the Ford model, commission chair Chip Westfall questioned if the county should be looking into other models for bid (like the Dodge Durango going into production), but Chapman pointed out most of the additional equipment installed in the vehicles — grill protectors, cages, etc. — is implemented based on the Ford models.

For 2020, at least, the sheriff's office is still seeking bids for Ford models — submitting a request for bid for three Interceptors, three F-150s and one van. Gay noted the sheriff's office is looking to bring in trucks this year to add variety to the fleet, and help with the resale value of vehicles once they are transitioned out of the fleet. He said the Ford F-150s are also some of the fastest police vehicles available.

Chapman also noted that Ford is the only brand that will certify its trucks as pursuit vehicles — with features like high-speed tires, stiffer suspensions, and more.

As an additional measure to help with resale and financing the cycling of fleet vehicles, a caveat was added to the request for bids giving the sheriff's office the right to resell on Purple Wave depending on the dealers' offers.

"Our trade-ins have not been great the last two cycles," Chapman said.

The commission authorized the sheriff's office to proceed with bids for new vehicles, to be received by Jan. 24.

In other business, the county commission:


Received an invitation from Sen. Carolyn McGinn (R-Sedgwick) to a luncheon Jan. 22 to discuss passenger rail (Amtrak/Southwest Chief), the same day as the Kansas Association of Counties' Local Government Day at the Capital.
Learned about the KAC and Regional Economic Area Partnership of South Central Kansas' 2020 goals through letters, as well as that the county's dues for both organizations decreased in 2020.
Heard an update on recycling at the county landfill. While it was expected Waste Connections would begin reviewing loads at the start of the year, County Administrator Anthony Swartzendruber said that process officially began on Jan. 6 and loads will start being rejected (following review) on Jan. 13.
Was informed by Planning and Zoning Director Gina Bell that building permit numbers did not change drastically in 2019. While the year started strong, permit work tapered off following the wheat harvest (less than usual ag building permits). However, Bell did note housing start permits did increase slightly — up 20 from 15 — in 2019.
Approved the purchase of 48 new Glock G34 handguns for the sheriff's department, as well as new holsters (given the different size of guns) and 26 red dot sights, at a total cost of $30,276.04 — coming in under what was budgeted in the 2020 capital improvement plan.
Approved Resolution 2020-1 designating Intrust Bank as the official depository for Harvey County.
Approved Resolution 2020-2 designating The Newton Kansan as the official newspaper of Harvey County.
Approved Resolution 2020-3 establishing the salaries for elected officials in Harvey County, which include a 2.5 percent increase being recommended as the 2020 market adjustment for all county personnel.
Held the annual meeting of the Public Building Commission, which approved 2019 minutes and designated the same membership in 2020 as in 2019 — with Robert Nattier serving as chairman, Randy Hague as vice-chairman, Gary Roth as secretary and Kelly McElroy and Wayne Valentine as members-at-large.