Government Fleet Top News

New Budget Gives Montgomery County, Texas, Sheriff's Department New Fleet

August 11, 2004

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, TX — After two years of no new patrol cars and a budget shortfall in the 2003-04 fiscal year, Montgomery County Sheriff's Department budget of $25,347,263 was approved by Commissioners Court. "Commissioners certainly treated us fairly," said Sheriff's Department Capt. Ken Ariola. The new budget contains more than $500,000, which will allow department officials to purchase between 60 and 64 new patrol cars, the first new cars added to the department's fleet in two years, according to the Montgomery Courier newspaper.The need for new patrol cars had become critical after commissioners failed to fund any new vehicles in the past two budget cycles. "The average mileage on one of our patrol cars is about 100,000 miles right now, and we still have two more months left before we get the new vehicles," Ariola said. The 60-plus new vehicles will replace about two-thirds of the department's current fleet."We'll replace the cars with the highest mileage and the most mechanical problems," Ariola said. Commissioners also awarded the department $150,411 to equip those vehicles, but Ariola said they will reuse as much of the equipment from the retiring vehicles as possible.For example, the cages, which separate the officer in the front seat from a prisoner in the back, will be taken out of the old cars and placed in the new vehicles. "Instead of spending $450 for each new cage, we're going to spend $45 and $120 per cage to retrofit the old ones," Ariola said.The $150,411 will be used to not only purchase those adapter kits, but 30 sirens, 50 exterior siren speakers, 64 graphics kits, 30 radio antennas, and 64 switches to shut off the passenger side air bags, which if deployed could send throw the officer's mobile data unit and other equip at him or her, causing injury.The department will also purchase LED overhead lights for 30 vehicles, which allow the officers to keep their light bar running while they are parked without draining the car battery. "With the lights we have now, the officers have to leave their cars running if they need those lights on or the battery gets drained in no time at all," Ariola said. "By leaving those cars running and letting them get hot, we are tearing them up. These LED lights will cut down on the wear on the cars."Ten MDTs and 30 new radios, to replace damaged or worn out units, will also be purchased.

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