Edmonson Voice Staff Report
Over the past several years, the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office has been recognized for making many improvements to their department, but according to Sheriff Shane Doyle, the one thing their budget has not allowed was the ability to purchase quality police vehicles, until now.
Doyle said that through a special lease agreement with Enterprise and some creative ways to work with their strapped budget, his office will be acquiring four brand new police vehicles that include two 2017 Dodge Ram Police trucks and two 2017 Dodge Charger police cruisers.
"It's not like the county suddenly has all this additional funding," Doyle said. "This took some creative thinking, cooperation from the fiscal court, and a great opportunity from Enterprise."
According to the sheriff's budget, in just five years, the office has spent over $105,000 for worn-out vehicles, their repairs, and maintenance.
"We've spent this money on vehicles that were basically worn-out when we got them and now, we have nothing to show for it."
The most recent vehicle purchase came a couple months ago when the department bought a 2001 police cruiser with 82K miles. After driving it for five days, the brakes caught fire.
"We started looking through the maintenance and repair logs and these cars had faced transmission failure, electrical fires, brake failure, and faced problems much worse than minor repairs. The cost of repairs was exceeding what the cars were worth," Doyle said. "So instead of continuing this pointless cycle of buying inadequate vehicles and spending all our money and time on keeping them patched together, I felt it was a much better investment to lease brand new ones that are covered under warranty."
The fiscal court made the funds available for the sheriff to increase his vehicle budget from $12K per year to $34K in order to lease the new vehicles that will come with a price tag of around $7K per vehicle, per year to lease. The two Dodge Ram trucks will be fully outfitted with all necessary police equipment, including a back-seat cage and lights. The quad cab trucks will also have four-wheel drive. The Dodge Chargers will be standard, high performance police cruisers fully equipped and ready to go.
In order to beef up the vehicle budget, Doyle has made some changes in other places to try to make up the difference, but he said his office has seen a $90K net gain over the past 5 years, which is from a combination of bringing in additional revenue and underspending when possible. The new budget also allows the sheriff to offer a slight pay increase to all deputies and office staff that he says is way overdue.
"We've been very frugal with our budget money and it was time to ask the county to help us by allowing us to spend a little more."
The new vehicles are scheduled to be added to the department in early 2017.