That issue is worn-out vehicles. Not only do many of the SCSO’s vehicles have over 100,000 miles on them, Edds said, but many are not pursuit-rated, creating a possible liability issue if an accident or injury occurred.
To correct the problem, the SCSO is looking to enter a vehicle lease agreement with Enterprise. The agreement would allow the department to turn in old vehicles to Enterprise, using the equity toward the lease of new vehicles for patrol officers and investigators.
“If we continue the way we’re going, we’re going to have vehicles operating, if we can keep them operational, at close to 200,000 miles,” Edds said. “Safety-wise, that’s not good for the officers or the county.”
About the program
Chief Deputy Jason Jenkins said the SCSO heard about Enterprise’s leasing program from Russell County and Wise County. Jenkins said the department hopes to turn in 16 old vehicles to Enterprise, which will help fund the lease of 19 new ones that the SCSO will use for five years.
“These 19 vehicles will fully outfit our patrol guys and our investigators. … When we get these, it’s going to have the lights, it’s going to have the sirens, it’s going to have the radios, and they will be pursuit-rated,” Jenkins said.
At the end of the five years, the department can either purchase the vehicles or turn them in for 19 new ones, continuing the lease agreement, Jenkins said.
Jenkins said the cost of the program is $139,000 a year for 19 new vehicles, which would be issued five at a time over the course of a year, Jenkins said. Enterprise would take care of maintenance, excluding oil changes and tires, creating lower costs for the county.
With that lowered maintenance cost factored in, Jenkins said, the program would cost about $25,000 more than the $100,000 the county currently gives the SCSO for vehicles.
Jenkins and Edds make a presentation about the program to the Board of Supervisors at its Wednesday meeting. Supervisor Darrel Jeter questioned whether, in five years, the SCSO would be able to use the equity from the leased vehicles toward the new vehicles, since the department wouldn’t own the vehicles.
“The way that the system is set up is we’re able to use that equity … of the vehicles that we receive, and it’s just a rinse-and-repeat type situation,” Jenkins explained.
Supervisors asked the county attorney to review the contract with Enterprise before voting on the program. The BOS will meet again Feb. 19 at 5 p.m. to revisit the issue.