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Sheriff's use surplus to purchase two vehicles

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Clay County Sheriff's Department received the keys for two new four-wheel Ford Expedition patrol vehicles at Bob Bowen Ford Tuesday. Pictured from the left are SVS Inc. President Matt Weber, Clay County Commissioner Paul Sinders, Sheriff Mike Heaton, Sales Representative Charlie Loughmiller and Commissioner Charlie Brown. Ivy Jackson Photo.
When chasing criminals or while on patrol, law enforcement needs to be able to get in and out of some rugged driving conditions. The Clay County Sheriff's Department now has two new four-wheel drive Ford Expedition patrol vehicles that will help officers do just that.

"This is yet another asset and tool that the department can utilize to protect the citizens of this county," Sheriff Mike Heaton said at Bob Bowen Ford when the department officially took ownership of the vehicles Tuesday. "The Explorers will replace two older vehicles and will be used mainly as patrol units, especially during bad weather conditions. Matter of fact, we put them to use during this past weekend's winter weather."

Commissioners Charlie Brown and Paul Sinders were impressed with the decal work and equipment installed by Matt Weber, president of SVS Inc.

Weber said his company specializes in outfitting police, fire and emergency response vehicles with the necessary equipment for officers to efficiently do their job.

"There were a lot of other departments interested in these vehicles while they were in the shop," Weber said.

The price tag for the new vehicles wasn't much more than it would be to purchase two regular Crown Victoria police cruisers.

Bob Bowen Sales Representative Charlie Loughmiller worked to get the best deal on the two special service vehicles, which are designed for use by law enforcement.

"It didn't cost much more to purchase an Explorer than to purchase a Crown Vic," Loughmiller said about the cost per vehicle. "Maybe $1,400 more."

Being frugal with taxpayers' money was prevalent throughout the purchasing process.

The $51,000 used to purchase the vehicles was made possible because of a $65,000 surplus in the Clay County Justice Center's meals portion of the sheriff's budget.

While the cost of an inmate's meal is set at $2 per meal, Heaton explained to officials at the time the surplus was returned to the general fund in November that the department was able to save $1.15 per meal, creating the large surplus.

"The Council is dedicated to providing the sheriff's department what they need to do their jobs," Clay County Council President Mike McCullough said, but added he doesn't expect another large windfall in the general fund anytime in the future.

He explained that several funds in the budgeting process for the new jail facility were estimated high because it was unknown what operational funds would be needed. After working with the jail budget during the past two years, McCullough said everyone has a clearer idea of what the operational costs are now and budget accordingly.

Although there may not be a windfall in the future, plans are in place to make sure there are functional patrol vehicles available for deputies.

McCullough explained the council has an ongoing program to replace sheriff's department vehicles "because they really rack up the miles over the course of time."

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This is not intended to irritate or inflame opinions. It's just calling it as it is.

Inmates are getting a meal that provides all the necessary nutrition. Doesn't have to be fancy. Besides, if someone commits a crime and is being detained whether at the local level or state they shouldn't be getting a 5 course meal. people tend to forget that these people have committed crimes against society. They are getting exactly what is coming to them as the law allows. The sheriff is providing what the law allows and doing a good job at it. Why shouldn't the savings be passed on to help them purchase equipment needed to put the criminals where they belong? Maybe with a couple more visible patrol vehicles it may deter a potential criminal act. It works in several major cities why not here.

-- Posted by Localguy1972 on Wed, Dec 19, 2007, at 12:01 PM

"Wow, it sure sounds like they are underfeeding the jail inmates."

You're kidding, right?

I'm guessing this was written by an inmates family member or an ex-inmate. Jail inmates are treated better than some people in our society. They get to sleep in a warm, safe place; eat warm nourishing food; recreate; attend educational classes at no charge to them; watch cable TV; and shower regularly. I think we need to worry about those that are not so fortunate. Inmates are rather fortunate, considering the crimes some of them have committed.

-- Posted by Always_A_Laker_Fan on Thu, Dec 20, 2007, at 1:47 PM

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