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May 14, 2014

Clark County sheriff to get new cars in June

Sheriff: 90 percent of fleet has 200k+ miles

JEFFERSONVILLE — The Clark County Sheriff’s Department will get a much needed boost to its fleet next month.

The sheriff’s office has ordered 10 Ford Tauruses, which it hopes to have patrolling Clark County’s roads by the end of June, said Sheriff Danny Rodden.

“I don’t think it’s the ideal car, but it was the best that was available. We looked at the Chevy Impala, we looked at the Dodge Charger,” Rodden said, adding that the Taurus was the cheapest of the three models considered. “We felt like for the county, it would make sense to get an all-wheel drive vehicle because of the county roads and the places we have to go a lot.”

The county commissioners approved spending $80,000 from its cumulative capital fund to assist with the purchase, and on Monday the county council approved that appropriation, along with $200,000 from the county’s rainy day fund.

“It’s a very logical choice,” said Commissioner Rick Stephenson. “The fleet is aging. We’re putting our policemen at risk.”

The 10 cars cost a total of about $310,000, said Rodden. Rodden said the remaining balance came from the sale of a loader the sheriff’s office acquired from federal government surplus to the county highway department.

“We could probably use that many more [cars], but this is a good start,” Rodden said. “If [the commissioners and council] can figure out a way to [purchase] a few each year to keep up with what’s necessary, that would work out better.”

Rodden estimates that about 90 percent of the department’s fleet of active patrol cars have accrued more than 200,000 miles, with many in the 250,000- to 300,000-mile range.

Older cars in the fleet are sometimes relegated to use as transport vehicles for prisoners to and from correctional facilities, Rodden said. The oldest cars in the fleet that the new police cars will replace will likely be sold for scrap or at auction, said Rodden.

“If we can, what we’ve been able to do with some of them is part them out and use the parts for when we need some body work done or whatever,” Rodden said. “If we can scavenge the parts before we scrap them, we’ll do that.”

The county recently formalized an agreement with the city of Jeffersonville to have repair work done on county vehicles at the city garage for a discounted rate. Rodden primarily uses Grider’s Automotive on Market Street in Jeffersonville to repair patrol vehicles, an arrangement he said he didn’t see coming to an end during his term.

“We’ve been very satisfied with Grider’s, because he does the maintenance for us, gets them in and out and is very reasonable with the price,” Rodden said.


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