In a press release from the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department its says the department wanted to clarify some public information.
The Sheriff’s Department has approximately 26 patrol units and 9 SRO units on the road. This does not count administrative or investigations. The 26 patrol units are used daily, and average about 20,000 miles a year. Most of our units have over 100,000 miles with some having over 200,000 miles.
The reasoning behind our project was the utilization of the buying power that Enterprise Fleet has in purchasing vehicles. This is a Government Fleet lease program which is totally different from a conventional private lease program that civilians have. This Government Fleet lease has a lower interest rate, and the terms are different.
We have been researching this for the past couple of years with the help of the budget committee and the County Budget Office, who initially was who introduced us to this program. Over the past several years, Coffee County has only purchased 3 to 4 patrol vehicles. The rest of the fleet including the investigator and administrative vehicles were purchased through the Coffee County Drug Control Fund.
The problem with utilizing the Drug Control Fund, which was never designed to sustain annual expenses, like patrol cars, is a fluctuating fund. This means we never know how much money is going to be in this fund. The Drug Fund is dependent on court fines and contributions through the court system. When a patrol vehicle is retired and pulled from service it has no market value due to the extreme wear and tear and extremely high mileage.
Coffee County usually only gets $150.00 to $200.00 per vehicle from the local recycling center. With this new program, we will be able to rotate out these vehicles sooner to get more equity out of the sale of these vehicles and keep deputies in a new, safer, more reliable vehicle and the proceeds will go back into the program.
It was stated in the local news article (Not On Target News) that this lease would include the maintenance of these vehicles. This is not so. This administration started utilizing the former bus garage behind the Justice Center, full time, to do most, if not all, of the maintenance of our vehicle fleet. This process has saved several thousands of dollars in maintenance costs and will continue to be utilized to its fullest extent on our vehicles.
Many of the commissioners on the county commission have looked at this project in detail. These commissioners are very knowledgeable in government leases due to their position or employment, and they all stated that this was a very sound plan and was a good economical choice to utilize the incentives that we will be receiving by using Enterprise Government Fleet leasing. Many other counties and municipalities have started doing and have been using.
Photo by Barry West