Sheriff’s Department Adding Eight New Vehicles

The Crawford County Sheriff’s Department will be rolling out eight new Chevrolet Tahoes this year through a lease program that will eventually replace the entire fleet.

Major Adam Carnal said the department will see a cost savings through the agreement. The vehicles will come from Brannen Motor Company in Unadilla, Georgia, completely outfitted.

Typically, the sheriff’s department receives a used vehicle that has to be re-wired and can take several weeks to complete and cost several hundred dollars.

“t is a good investment,” Carnal said. “We’ll cut down on maintenance tremendously and we won’t be fixing vehicles that have 120,000 miles on them. There are a lot of government and first responder agencies that do this program.”

The first vehicle will be ready by June 1.

Through 2019, the county will lease seven vehicles and own one outright. The first payment won’t be due until March 2020.

Carnal said the department plans to stagger the purchases so they don’t have to replace a majority of the vehicles at once.

As of last week, the county has 17 vehicles with more than 100,000 miles.

The lease program allow the department to phase in new vehicles at a lower cost.

“Brannen offers these vehicles at a government rate, which is $20,000 less than the sticker price,” Carnal said. “This is a big purchase. We have been buying used highway patrol vehicles for $16,000 to $20,000, depending on the mileage.”

Each used vehicle from the highway patrol comes with 50,000 to 60,000 miles already on the engine. Add in the process of pulling out the old equipment and substituting in the new and Carnal said it becomes costly.

“We’re constantly replacing parts,” Carnal said, adding that the cars have nearly 140,000 miles after a three-year run.

“We put 25,000 to 30,000 miles on a vehicle each year, depending on the deputy,” he said. “We are paying $26,000 for a vehicle that we use for three years.”

When the department puts the vehicles up for sale at the county auction, Carnal said sometimes they are lucky to receive $1,000.

“We’re getting about a 5 percent return,” he said.

Carnal said they began brainstorming a lease program and figured after 125,000 miles on a Tahoe, they could still receive $15,000 to $20,000 upon resale. The vehicles will be sold to an outfitter after four years and Carnal said it would provide a 35 percent return.

“That’s a 30 percent improvement on what we’re currently doing with no new money being invested in 10 to 12 years,” he said.

The sheriff’s department will not pay for the vehicles through general revenue, instead using money acquired through fines and restitution. 

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