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Driving your dollars: 221 publicly owned cars on streets

The ACSO list includes 23 cars; 18 SUVs, trucks or vans; one helicopter, one ambulance; one boat; and one trailer.

The number of vehicles is due in part to the goals of the department — patrolling county roads — but also to an ACSO policy of not discarding vehicles until they no longer work, Mayfield said.

“The ones we sell at auction are past repair; they are junk,” Mayfield said. “I don’t think we have ever sold a vehicle that wasn’t run into the ground. When we can’t use it anymore, and it is costing too much to fix them, that is when we take them off the line.”

The sheriff’s office purchased nine new police edition Chevrolet Tahoes earlier this year, seven of which were delivered in April and two of which were delivered in June. Mayfield said the purchase of the Tahoes was necessary because some of the cars on the road at that time had too many miles to be effective as patrol units.

County Administrator Joe Murray said seven cars were auctioned after the purchase, and one was kept for parts.

“Really, the most important vehicles are the line vehicles, the patrol vehicles; those are the ones we want to keep in good order,” Mayfield said.

Mileage and the amount of work that is being done on the vehicle is the key factor in determining if a newer model should replace it, the sheriff said.

But Mayfield also said how long a deputy has been assigned a certain patrol unit is also a determining factor in who is assigned a new car.

“We try to (make assignments) in order of who has the oldest or the most miles,” Mayfield said. “If you get a new vehicle this year it will probably be four years before you get another.”

When an older model is rotated out of the patrol line, it is assigned to someone who will not use it for as many routine miles as a patrol officer would, Mayfield said.

Those who might receive an older vehicle include the department’s investigators and commanding officers. Like the patrol officers, Mayfield said commanding officers and investigators take their vehicles home at the end of a shift because they are always on call.

The ACSO’s 16 patrol deputies all take their assigned cars home. Likewise, a number of undercover vehicles go home with an assigned officer, Mayfield said.

“If (the officers) are off-duty, they can’t take (the vehicles) out with them anywhere,” Mayfield said.

“Anytime they get in that vehicle, they have to be in a sheriff’s uniform, and if they see anybody on the road or see a violation of the law, they have got to take some action, just like if they are on duty.”

Mayfield drives a 2011 Dodge Charger.

“I have that because I go to calls when we get called out at night when they have a serious felony crime,” he said.

“I also do some patrolling in the county. I spend probably as much time out there as most deputies do.”

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