During a recent Finance Committee meeting, Franklin County Chief Deputy Brent Perry addressed accusations that the Sheriff Department’s vehicle inventory was exorbitant and bloated.
“You hear rumors that we’ve got everything from tanks to a helicopter,” Perry said.
While the department doesn’t have a tank or helicopter, it is well stocked with vehicles to meet just about any need that might arise.
A worksheet distributed to the finance committee shows that the Sheriff’s Department has a total of 61 vehicles in its inventory, many of which were obtained at no cost to taxpayers.
The vehicle break down includes:
▪ Thirty-three vehicles assigned to sworn officers.
▪ Ten vehicles purchased through drug fund, no tax dollars spent.
▪ One vehicle provided for the jail administrator.
▪ Two unmarked pool vehicles.
▪ Three marked pool vehicles.
▪ One litter truck paid for with a federal grant.
▪ One body transport vehicle.
▪ Two hummers (mountain patrol and special assignment) donated by the military, no tax dollars spent.
▪ One dump truck donated by military, no tax dollars spent.
▪ One jail transport van.
▪ One special operations vehicle donated by Rural Metro, no tax dollars spent.
▪ Three reserve deputy marked units.
▪ Two motor units (motorcyles).
▪ Total number of vehicles 61.
Franklin County Sheriff Tim Fuller said the department has not had to ask the County Commission for any new money for vehicles due to good management and planning.
“We have been fortunate to have managed our vehicles in such a manner that we have not needed additional tax dollars,” he said. “All of our investigator vehicles and some marked vehicles were brought though the drug fund, those monies come from seizes and fines from people found to be dealing drugs.”
In addition to drug fund money the department used repair funds to purchase newer vehicles to replace worn patrol cars that were no longer worth the costs of repair.
“We took vehicle repair money and used it to buy new vehicles and used vehicles with low mileage instead of repairing vehicles with 200,000 and 300,000 thousand miles on them, when those vehicle aren’t worth the repair bill,” Fuller said.
Some units in the inventory are used only on certain occasions such as the body transport and special operations vehicles.
“We have vehicles that are special use vehicles such as the litter truck that is paid for through state grant which is used by the work crews to pick up litter and other work details,” he said
Fuller explained that all of the vehicles have a particular use and are necessary to ensure the safety of both officers and the citizens that they are sworn to serve and protect.
“Our deputies lives depend on having a safe vehicle,” he said. “The citizens expect us to respond and make it to their call for service in a safe manner.
“That requires vehicles that are durable enough to respond to all types of calls no matter what the weather conditions or location, we have mountains in this county which at times require off road travel and we have a S.U.V assigned to each shift for that purpose.”
Finance committee member and Highway Superintendent Johnny Woodall said that the sheriff had even been able to obtain a dump truck for his department at no cost and that he was grateful for it.