The Hall County Sheriff’s Office will soon be getting the new patrol cars it requested, although they won’t be the wheels originally anticipated.
“The Chevrolet Caprices, they’re either assembled or partially assembled in Australia, and that caused a delivery issue where we couldn’t get new cars until the first of next year, so we’re now looking at purchasing Ford Interceptors,” spokesman Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks said.
Sheriff Gerald Couch said the office has already bought the cars, which should be delivered in the next few days or weeks.
“We’ve already purchased them from four different dealerships. We’ll be getting 15 for certain, and we’re working on a 16th. We bought the 2013 models and we were able to get some good deals,” he said.
The office had thought the Caprices would be available for immediate delivery, Wilbanks said, but the Interceptor is a suitable alternative.
“The Interceptor is (an) all-wheel-drive model, whereas the Caprice was rear-wheel. The Interceptor had a V-6 engine. The Caprice is V-8, so the Ford will possibly be more fuel-efficient,” he said.
The county will be saving money as well with the change, Wilbanks said.
“It’s slightly less expensive overall at a couple thousand less per car. But in terms of body size and general characteristics, they’re equal,” he said.
The sheriff’s office has bought five patrol cars in the past five years, when “an agency our size should be purchasing 20 to 25 vehicles per year to keep our fleet up to standards,” Couch told the Hall County Board of Commissioners on May 21.
Two-thirds of the fleet have been driven more than 100,000 miles, nearly one-fifth have between 150,000 and 200,000 miles, and 9 percent have more than 200,000 miles.
The Hall County Board of Commissioners approved his request in late May for $550,000 to update the aging fleet.
Meanwhile, Couch said, the office has posted the certified mechanic position that he created to save costs on maintenance and repairs by doing them in-house.
The mechanic’s position was funded by converting two vacant positions in the jail division.
“It’s already a posted position on the web page. It’s open to people outside the office. We’ll be looking to hire a mechanic certified in Ford products, so that we can do all our warranty work in-house,” he said.
The old patrol cars will be auctioned on govdeals.com, an online auction site for government surplus items, Couch said.