The Mercer County Fiscal Court is looking at leasing three new cruisers for the sheriff’s office.
“I would not be in here asking if we didn’t have to,” said Sheriff Ernie Kelty.
Kelty said his office had been trying to make it another year with their current fleet, however, they have recently had three that have suffered damage in accidents. One car struck a deer while responding to a call, a truck was hit from behind and another cruiser was also hit. Some of the cars will be out weeks for repairs.
“This is something that just came up,” the sheriff said.
The county’s 2017-2018 budget went into effect on the first of the month. No money was allocated for the purchase of new police cars.
Dep. Matt Swabey said the best option was to lease three vehicles for three years at $43,000 a year or for four years at $31,000 a year. The price covers all three cruisers.
The county would not have to make the first payment until a year after delivery, said Swabey, who called leasing the best option in his opinion. While routine maintenance such as tires and oil would be handled by the sheriff’s office, major repairs would be handled by the dealer. Swabey’s cruiser needs a new rear end, which could cost as much as $2,000 in parts to replace.
Swabey’s cruiser is one of the three cruisers the sheriff would like to retire. They all have over 200,000 miles on the odometer and significant mechanical issues.
The sheriff’s office wants to lease three Ford Pursuit Utilities, modified Ford Explorers with all wheel drive. Kelty said the Dodge Chargers his deputies were currently using were too low to the ground.
“There are driveways and roads we can’t get into,” Kelty said.
The sheriff said the need for the new vehicles was great, not only for handling calls in the county, but for transporting prisoners to and from court.
“On any given day, we could be anywhere in the state,” Kelty said. “You don’t see our cruisers sitting still.”
To learn more, check out this week’s issue of The Harrodsburg Herald.