It has been a rough past year on Franklin County Sheriff’s Office vehicles.
Three cars were totaled in crashes.
Sheriff Jeff Richards said two of the vehicles were lost to crashes during pursuits and the other was involved in a head-on crash.
“Most of the vehicles we have lost are people are trying to intentionally [hit us]... swerving at us or ramming our vehicles,” he said. “Pursuits can be dangerous.”
Richards said the county’s insurance provider, KCAMP [Kansas County Association Multiline Pool], paid the value of the three vehicles. Derek Brown, county administrator/counselor, said the insurance settlement on the three vehicles was for about $62,000.
Richards was a bit apprehensive about the situation when he approached KCAMP.
“I was concerned when you lose that many [to crashes],” he said. “We are not as bad as some other places. We have been fortunate we are not losing them at the rate as other places are.”
Richards made a presentation to the Franklin County Board of County Commissioners Wednesday to replace two of the vehicles. Richards said the total cost would not exceed $74,043.
The sheriff received a bid from Bob Allen Ford, 2320 S. Oak St., Ottawa, for $62,409 — $30,496 for a 2018 Ford F-150 crew cab pickup truck and $31,913 for a 2018 Ford Explorer. This purchase also includes equipment, installation and graphics for both vehicles, which could add about $12,000 to the total cost. The commissioners unanimously approved the purchase.
“We get pricing off the state plan,” Richards said. “We try to keep that business local as much as we can. We have been successful making those purchases local.”
Brown said the remaining $12,000 of the total purchase would come from the county’s Risk Management fund.
Richards said all of his department’s Sport Utility Vehicles are equipped with a law enforcement interceptor package.
“They built those for law enforcement,” he said. “That is a law enforcement pursuit-rated vehicle.”
Richards said having a pickup truck is essential for hauling items such as the trailer for the ATV.
“It is not a pursuit-rated vehicle,” Richards said. “It is a safe vehicle and it accomplishes what we want it to accomplish.”
The sheriff’s office has 30-plus vehicles in their fleet, which includes, patrol vehicles, surveillance vehicles, a transport van and a crime scene unit, Richards said.
“The vehicles are a vital piece of equipment for us,” he said. “We have to get to where the people need the help. We need to make sure they are up and running and are good vehicles that will get everybody there safely. Not just our staff, but the public expects the same thing. You don’t want us there tomorrow, you want us there now.”
The timing of the purchase could not be better as more deputies will be hitting the streets in the coming weeks, the sheriff said.
“We are getting our staffing in the jail built back up, so the deputies that were assigned in there are able to go back to the road,” Richards said. “We’re hiring two deputies. Those were replacements that we lost.”