LAFAYETTE, IN - A year after being put under a microscope for investing $610,000 in new emergency response trucks, Tippecanoe County says the vehicles have proved beneficial to operations, according to the Journal and Courier.

Those in charge of the county's medical first response service say the five ambulances purchased made a major difference. Buying five new ambulances for the county's fleet allowed an additional truck to go into service, making six ambulances available for response at all times, reported J&C. The five new ambulances are part of an eight-vehicle fleet that allows for six ambulances to be available for response at all times.

"They're wonderful," according to Vicky Snipes, director of emergency services at St. Elizabeth Regional Health, which operates Tippecanoe Emergency Ambulance Services. "The (ambulances) drive better and run better. The maintenance costs are way down."

Also helping speed response times is new global positioning technology installed in each ambulance.The vehicle locator technology, similar to GPS in many cars these days, helps dispatch ambulances based on their precise location at the time of the call, rather than locations of vehicle hubs.

Now officials from St. Elizabeth Regional Health and Clarian Arnett Health are working to form a non-profit entity that will oversee ambulance service. They hope to have the organization, which will include representatives from the competing hospitals and the county, in place by Jan. 1.