Bent County commissioners approved the purchase of an additional patrol vehicle for the Bent County Sheriff’s Office at their regularly scheduled Aug. 7 meeting.

Bent County commissioners approved the purchase of an additional patrol vehicle for the Bent County Sheriff’s Office at their regularly scheduled Aug. 7 meeting.

Commissioners agreed to the purchase of two 2013 Chevrolet Impalas for the department in July, which are currently being outfitted for use. The new patrol vehicle is expected to be of the same make and model.

Deputy Austin Friederichs was present at the meeting to discuss the department’s need for an additional patrol vehicle, citing a recent accident involving one patrol vehicle and an aging fleet.

According to Friederichs, the Bent County Sheriff’s Office currently utilizes nine partol cars for the patrol division and three cars for administrative use, for a total of 12 vehicles.

As of the meeting date, the department had three 2012 Chevrolet Impalas currently issued for patrol use, not including the two newer vehicles being outfitted for use. Friederichs stated that there are several Ford model vehicles that are not currently being used because of engine and transmission failure, adding that the vehicles have approximately 150,000 on them. Per his suggestion, the vehicles are not in condition to justify repair as the fix would be temporary, due to high mileage and hard use.

Additionally, Friederichs informed commissioners that the department has several more Ford patrol vehicles that have very high mileage and mechanical failure of the vehicles is imminent. As a result, Friederichs suggested purchasing the newer model patrol vehicle, which would allow the department to have a total of six newer model cars and make the rotation of vehicles more predictable and cost effective when calculating repairs.

Friederichs outlined a five-year plan for the rotation of vehicles, which would include the purchase of a new patrol vehicle in 2014, while the oldest of the fleet, starting with Ford models, would be rotated to administrative use, where they are not driven as much, and the administrative vehicle being rotated to back-up use or sent to the auction.

“The above plan is much more feasible for the sheriff’s office because it will reduce fleet repair costs associated with aging patrol vehicles,” said Friederichs in the letter he presented to commissioners. “When cars are rotated out of patrol due to mileage, approximately 80,000 miles, they can be rotated in to administrative for further use, where the safety and reliability of the patrol vehicle is greatly increased and is also financially feasible because it is easier to purchase one car per year, rather than having to purchase as many as three per year because of a deteriorating fleet.”

Commissioners agreed that purchasing and maintaining older patrol vehicles is not the answer, which resulted in 3-0 vote to purchase the newer model and proceed with Friederichs’ suggested five-year plan.

Bent County Sheriff Dave Encinias presented commissioners with current inmate counts, which total 39. Twelve inmates are from Bent County, while 13 are from Otero County, eight from Alamosa County, and six from the Department of Corrections.
Body type J: Revenues for the month of July total $38,975.70, and year-to-date revenues $211,153.48. With one officer no longer with the department, Encinias reported two vacant road positions open, which he will be advertising for.

Otero Junior College Small Business Development Center Director Bill Dutro was in attendance to share recent happenings with commissioners. He informed them of an expected 8 percent reduction from the State of Colorado for department funding. Dutro’s office helps small business owners in southern Colorado develop their businesses, many in Bent County.

In anticipation of the reduction in funds, Dutro asked commissioners to continue their assisted funding for the program, which Bent County currently donates $2,000 toward, $1,000 of which comes from Bent County, and $1,000 from the Bent County Development Fund.

Commissioners agreed that funding the development center is of high importance, and asked Dutro to keep them informed as to state funding cuts, saying they would likely consider addition funding to keep the development center open.
Body type J: The next scheduled meeting date for Bent County Commissioners will be Aug. 28 in the basement of the Bent County Courthouse.