Sheriff’s department getting 7 new vehicles

Ten months after receiving approval, the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department will invest about $180,000 in seven new vehicles.

At the request of the Bartholomew County Council, the sheriff’s department waited almost a year until all retiring vehicles had at least 150,000 miles to make the purchase, county commissioners chairman Carl Lienhoop said.

The approval to buy the vehicles comes less than a week after the sheriff’s department asked the council for 11 new patrol vehicles to be purchased next year.

Only one car dealership that is located within 60 miles of Columbus submitted bids to supply the vehicles requested by Sheriff Matt Myers.

Bids received from the John Jones Auto Group of Salem and approved by the commissioners were:

  • Four 2017 Dodge Charger Pursuit interceptors for $23,599 apiece.
  • Two 2017 Ram Crew Cab pickup trucks for $28,389.
  • One Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle for $28,389.

The sheriff’s department had anticipated that Fletcher Chrysler in Franklin also was going to submit a bid, Capt. Brandon Slate said.

Due to a negotiated contract with the state, Fletcher can use bulk purchasing power to provide low bids to city, county and state law enforcement agencies. But Fletcher spokesman Keith Fox said his staff did not see the bid advertisements.

Although several vendors had requested bid information after seeing the ads, only the Salem car dealership actually submitted bids, Lienhoop said.

After audience member Mike Lovelace asked why other comparable makes and models weren’t considered, commissioner Rick Flohr said one reason is to reduce the number of automotive parts that must be kept in stock for repairs.

But most law enforcement officials in Indiana have a preference for the Dodge Chargers over other new vehicles, Lienhoop said.

For nearly 20 years, the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor was considered the most popular patrol car in the state, according to the Indiana Department of Administration.

But three years after Ford announced it would stop accepting orders for those types of Crown Victorias, the Dodge Charger Pursuit all-wheel drive models became available to law enforcement customers in the spring of 2014, the IDA stated.

The Crown Victoria interceptors that are still in good shape at the sheriff’s department are being requested by the towns of Clifford and Hope, Flohr said.

Meanwhile, a Ford SUV being replaced by the Dodge Durango will be turned over to the Bartholomew County Emergency Operations Center, Lienhoop said.

Author photo
Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.