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Sheriff awaits new SUVs

NATCHEZ — Adams County Sheriff’s Office deputies will soon be rolling down county roads in new sport utility vehicles, law enforcement edition Chevrolet Tahoes.

Seven of nine Tahoes ordered earlier this year have arrived and been painted with the official Adams County Sheriff’s Office striping and are waiting to have police radios and light bars installed.

The two remaining Tahoes are in the process of being built, Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said.

Southern Signs did the striping on the vehicles at a cost of $475 a unit.

Mayfield said Concordia Parish Sheriff Randy Maxwell has agreed to donate the labor to install the electronics in the vehicles from the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office automotive shop at the parish correctional facility.

“I spoke with the manufacturer of the equipment, and they said they are familiar with (the CPSO) work and they are 100 percent behind it,” Mayfield said. “They say it is excellent.”

Maxwell said the CPSO was happy to help the ACSO.

“We’re certainly glad to help Sheriff Mayfield and his staff, just as they’ve assisted us many times in the past,” he said. “We have a full automotive shop at the Concordia Parish Correctional Facility, and we’re fortunate to be able to help law enforcement and municipalities throughout the Miss-Lou region year around.”

Having the work done at the Concordia Parish facility will save the county approximately $10,000, Mayfield said.

The Tahoes were purchased for $26,000 apiece. Mayfield requested the purchase from the Adams County Board of Supervisors, stating that many of the cars in the sheriffs office fleet had high mileage and that the Tahoes would hold up better than other models on Adams County’s rural roads.

Although they initially expressed reluctance to buy the Tahoes, the supervisors purchased the vehicles. County Administrator Joe Murray said the change in opinion came after the supervisors read a report by auto industry analysis company Vincentric.

The analysis showed that while the Tahoe has a higher purchase price than police editions of the Chevrolet Impala, the Ford Crown Victoria and the Dodge Charger, it has a lower lifecycle cost when factors like fuel, maintenance and insurance costs were factored in.

The analysis stated that over three years of law enforcement use, the Tahoe’s lifecycle would cost $37,697, whereas the Impala’s would cost $39,538, the Crown Victoria’s would cost $41,712 and the Charger’s would be $44,088.

Murray said the supervisors also considered what the vehicles would be worth when the ACSO was done with them.

“What really stands out most about the Tahoe, the biggest thing that set them apart, was the resale value,” Murray said.

“Most vehicles had depreciated to nothing over three years use, whereas the Tahoe still holds two-thirds of its value. It is the fact that when we get ready to get rid of these to get other vehicles, we will be able to be compensated when we put them up for auction or sell them.”

An ACSO spokesperson said the Tahoes will only be assigned to patrol deputies, and Mayfield said they will be take-home vehicles. They will not, however, be allowed for personal use, and deputies must be in uniform if they are in the vehicle, he said.

The sheriff said he had several reasons why deputies would be allowed to take the vehicles home. The first is that the sheriff’s department doesn’t have the space to park all of the vehicles, and the second is that having the vehicles parked in residential neighborhoods gives the sheriff’s office a more visible presence, he said.

It also allows for more rapid emergency response, cutting out the time a deputy would have to take to drive to the sheriff’s office and check out an official vehicle, Mayfield said.

“If they already have (the Tahoe) at home, if (a deputy) gets a call that they need to go out to, they can jump up, jump into their clothes and go to it,” he said.

Mayfield said the new Tahoes could hit the roads as soon as next week.