Claremore Daily Progress

July 10, 2013

Sheriff’s fleet gets an upgrade

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE —

The Rogers County Sheriff’s office is gearing up with the purchase of 19 new police vehicles.
The purchase comes after years of repairs to the current fleet of vehicles, averaging about 170,000 miles of wear and tear on each.
Several of the old cars have had major repairs done,  including engine replacement just to keep them in service, according to Sheriff Scott Walton.
Walton is excited to have the new fleet roll into service because he knows the vehicles mean reliability.
The equipment is more than an aide to deputies. It is an essential part of doing the job, Walton said.
Rogers County Sheriff’s deputies can be called from one end of the county to another and with about 700 square miles, that means a lot of miles on each vehicle, he said.
Ford manufactures the new vehicles, called Police Interceptors, in both utility and sedan styles.
The total purchase price of about $500,000 is divided between the 12 SUVs at about $27,000 each and eight sedans costing $26,000 each.
The Sheriff’s office purchased both styles of vehicles  to meet the different demands of the job.
“By lease purchasing the cars, the department was able to spread the cost out to lower the initial financial impact, while receiving the immediate benefit to the department,” according to Public Information Officer Jerry Smittle.
“Designed by cops for cops,” said Smittle, “the vehicles have everything designed with law enforcement in mind.”
The vehicles offer additional safety features, including the calibration of the airbag system to differentiate between a collision and rounds being fired from a gun.
Systems including police tuned suspension and calibrated powertrain have also been enhanced to meet the special needs of law enforcement officers.
The cars have improved fuel economy helping to lower the department’s expenses.
Additional cost savings on the purchase came from equipping the automobiles after market, according to Walton.
Local vendor, Visual Force, installed the lights and other equipment recycling materials from the old fleet to save the department money.
The cost saving measure is allowing the cars to be fitted with added equipment including gun or rifle locks, according to Walton.
The average cost of the equipment for a unit is $4,000, however this has been reduced by recycling the old light bars and other equipment, according to Smittle.
Walton said he is working to give his deputies the tools they need to get the job done.
The focus is on serving the public and making sure officers are ready and able to serve when called for assistance.
The Rogers County Commissioners approved the purchase last year, committing to the investment in public safety.
Commissioner Mike Helm also provided mechanical assistance on the old fleet vehicles in the past year and spoke at the Sept. 24, 2012 meeting of the board, reminding them of the importance of public safety.
Helm said the number one priority is the Sheriff’s cars and public safety being the number one priority of Rogers County. 
He also encouraged the board to add 2 to 3 additional deputies to the department.  
The Sheriff received the vehicles and now is looking to add the manpower to his department. 
The Rogers County Commissioners have not started the budget process for the 2013-14 fiscal year so it has not been determined is Helm’s request from last year’s budget will be filled.