11 vehicles added to sheriff’s fleet

Published 7:51 pm Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It’s in with the new, out with the old for Chilton County Sheriff’s Department vehicles.

In are 11 new vehicles including seven 2009 Dodge Chargers and four 2009 Ford F-150 pickup trucks.

Sheriff Kevin Davis said the new patrol cars — at $19,000 apiece — were about $2,000 cheaper than the new Crown Victorias and came with a longer extended warranty, 100,000 miles to the Crown Vic’s 36,000.

Typically, the sheriff’s department puts about 40,000 miles on a patrol car in just a year’s time.

“That saves us money if anything happens to it,” Davis said.

The four trucks, priced at $14,000 apiece, went to general investigators, who are required to haul different types of equipment as well as evidence. That can include TVs, air conditioners and air compressors.

“That’s almost impossible to put in a car,” Davis said.

He described the two-door, two-wheel drive trucks as “plain Jane” because they have manual door locks and windows and do not require the extra speed and support as do patrol cars.

Both the cars and trucks were purchased from the state bid list. They make a total 32 vehicles used by the department. Previously, 21 of those vehicles were in excess of 100,000 miles, Davis said.

“We’ve been in desperate need for cars for the past couple of years,” he said. “This enables each patrol deputy to have either an ’08 or an ’09 vehicle, which should be reliable vehicles. It’s very important to me that they have reliable vehicles so when you call 911, we have reliable equipment to get to your need.”

The department has decided to get rid of its armored personnel carrier, or tank in layman’s terms, because Davis didn’t feel there was a need for it.

“In two years we have not deployed it in one single call,” he said, explaining that the county was incurring an expense from having it due to keeping the battery charged and replenishing the vehicle with fuel whenever the fuel went bad.

The department received the vehicle free from the 10-33 Program, a federal government assistance program, prior to Davis’ election as sheriff. The tank will be returned to the program and likely reassigned to another agency.

“My conclusion is that if it gets bad enough that we need a tank, we will call the National Guard,” Davis said, adding several agencies have already shown interest in the carrier.

The tractor-trailer used to haul the vehicle was declared surplus as well. The truck was donated, and the sheriff will first attempt to return it to the person who donated it. Otherwise, it will be put up for bid along with the trailer.