Sheriff to get 4 new patrol cars

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

New vehicles to replace ones with high-mileage

The Barry County Sheriff's Office will soon be getting four new Ford Explorers to add to its fleet of patrol cars.

"We believe it's a good vehicle for the terrain in Barry County," said Mick Epperly, Barry County sheriff. "They are all-wheel drive. They seem to be holding up pretty good. We've been using the Ford Explorer for about five years. We had to go with a car that was big enough to carry everyone's supplies, and maybe two inmates."

Beginning next year, the county will be on rotation to have four to five new cars each year. That was the protocol before the recession, which forced the department to keep cars with up to 200,000-300,000 miles.

"That was taking up a lot of maintenance costs," Epperly said. "So, hopefully, we can rotate them at a lower mileage and can use cars with up to 150,000-200,000 miles on them. It gives us a chance to phase the four oldest cars out every year, and still get something back out of the car."

The purchase is within the budget, and the office plans to pay for the cars as they come in, Epperly said. The office has approximately 23 cars and 20 officers, a few of whom take their cars home.

"We have deputies that live in other parts of the county who take their cars home, and there's a lot of advantage to that," Epperly said. "When a deputy may get a call at home, he can respond and be ready in his car, versus keeping the car at the sheriff's office and having to drive several miles to his car.

"And, I feel like it's a comfort, too, because neighbors know there's someone close."

Epperly said having the new cars will help the department serve the community better.

"Having good equipment to do the job is so much more efficient," he said. "You don't want to get a 911 call and worry about the car breaking down. And, we've been there in the past with high-mileage cars and had to deal with it, but we want the best for the public. It's their tax dollars, and we utilize that with transporting inmates all he way to the Department of Corrections, or we pick up inmates and take them to other counties [on a regular basis]. That racks up miles.

"Hopefully someday, we can get all the cars with the laptops with the county mapping but right now, they use their own GPS system in the car that they've got and is programmed to the 911 call addresses."

Epperly said the office will be putting "In God We Trust" decals on each of the four new patrol cars.

"We're not targeting anyone that's not a Christian," he said. "But, we know who we trust."

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