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Free cruisers have made a difference, county sheriff says

Deputies have patrolled county roads with more efficiency this year, thanks to four free cruisers, Sheriff Tim Sexton said.

Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Deputies have patrolled county roads with more efficiency this year, thanks to four free cruisers, Sheriff Tim Sexton said.

The cars, transferred from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, replaced high-mileage cars that could have posed financial problems for the Lawrence department, Sexton said.

Due to budget cuts handed down by the county at the beginning of the year, coupled with the dilemma faced because three cruisers had mileage greater than 200,000, it was necessary to be innovative, the sheriff said.

Sexton said he even considered used cars because the department needed enough vehicles to guarantee patrols and timely responses to calls.

The sheriff said that while attending a training course with various sheriffs from across the state, he explained his dilemma of "high mileage cars" to sheriffs from more economically sound areas. Montgomery County Sheriff Dave Vore offered four of his used cruisers.

In June, the Lawrence County Commission authorized the sheriff to acquire the cruisers; and Sheriff Vore received authorization in his county to make the property transfer.

Although the used cruisers had in excess of 100,000 miles, they came with a mechanical history and were in very good condition, Sexton said.

"These vehicles were obtained at no cost to the taxpayers and we were happy to obtain the cars," he said.

There was additional savings because the vehicles came with the security cages intact and the vehicles did not require painting to meet the specifications of the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association.

Two of the vehicles were assigned to replace the highest mileage cars on patrol – Deputies Julia Jones and Darin Hamlin received those cars.

The tow other vehicles are used as backup vehicles when others may be receiving repairs. And, they are used to transport inmates to state prisons.

The used vehicles have saved the department the repair costs that would have occurred in the higher mileage cars, but it’s only a short-term solution to a bigger problem, the sheriff said.

"Should the economy and job opportunity improve, obviously chances are more spending will occur," Sexton said. "Should this happen, additional funding may become available to begin an annual program of purchasing or leasing new police cruisers for our officers."