Douglas Co. sheriff working to improve department's cars, equipment
ARMOUR -- Out with the old and worn down, and in with the new. The Douglas County Sheriff's Office's oldest vehicle can often be seen patrolling the streets of Armour, Corsica and Delmont, and has racked up 155,000 miles in its three-year career....
ARMOUR - Out with the old and worn down, and in with the new.
The Douglas County Sheriff's Office's oldest vehicle can often be seen patrolling the streets of Armour, Corsica and Delmont, and has racked up 155,000 miles in its three-year career.
A 2009 Crown Victoria, the vehicle is a longstanding staple in Douglas County, with its white paint and sheriff's office logo stamped on the side. But it's far from up to snuff with area departments' vehicles, which prompted Sheriff Jon Coler to vie for a change.
And he got it.
This summer, the car will see its final days of use with the department and will be replaced with a 2018 Dodge Charger, the latest in the sheriff's office's moves to improve equipment and technology.
"We didn't have a lot of things a lot of places did when I started as sheriff," said Coler, adding he knew when he took over as sheriff six years ago he wanted to improve the department's equipment. "I think they were working on getting it moved up, but it just got to the point where, I think, you have to be consciously working on it."
At February's meeting, the Douglas County Commission authorized the Douglas County Sheriff's Office to purchase the new vehicle for $23,463. The department had planned for the vehicle in its 2017 budget.
Coler anticipates the car will arrive in June and will be used by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office for approximately six years.
And the improvement is much-needed, Coler said. On Saturday, the Crown Victoria the department is replacing was in a body shop in Corsica for minor repairs.
"I think it'll help with making sure everything we need is on the road when we need it to be, and it will be cheaper for maintenance," Coler said.
The department will keep the Crown Victoria and use it occasionally to transport people from town to town, in an effort to not put too many unnecessary miles on the Charger.
This isn't the first time in Coler's six-year tenure as sheriff that his office has replaced a vehicle. In 2016, the department replaced a 2005 Tahoe, with a 2015 Chevy Silverado Pickup, starting what Coler hopes is a rotation for replacements, with a third vehicle purchase possibly on the horizon for 2018.
"I guess I'm not exactly sure what that rotation will look like yet, but we're going to try to get it where we have some idea when we need something replaced, instead of just when they start really going downhill," Coler said. "We're trying to be proactive."
In the meantime, Coler plans to continue working to improve equipment for his eight-person staff. He said the Douglas County Sheriff's Office is eyeing the purchase of new in-car cameras, rifles and, most notably, body cameras.
To purchase the body cameras, Coler said the sheriff's office intends to apply for grants, which require the department to have policies for their use in place, which Coler is still working on creating.
But, he said, the benefits of the cameras would be monumental for the deputies.
"It just kind of covers us if we get accused of something," Coler said. "And, also, we think it kind of makes you more aware of what you're doing and you don't get so lackadaisical with stuff either."