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Sheriffs office ready to put new cars on the road
new cars 2
The Effingham County Sheriffs Office is adding more Dodge Chargers to its fleet to replace older Ford Crown Victorias that have been totaled in accidents. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

The Effingham County Sheriff’s Office soon will put new cars on the road, replacing four cars no longer serviceable because of wrecks.

The ECSO will put new Dodge Chargers on the streets to replace patrol cars lost to striking a deer and to other accidents. Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie said they could use some of the gear from the wrecked vehicles in the new cars, but it will take work. The cars were Ford Crown Victorias, a model no longer in production.

“The blue lights are the same,” the sheriff said, “but we have to have new brackets. Most of the electronic stuff we can swap over but the new brackets have to be changed.”

Commissioners approved the purchase of four cars while figuring out where to the draw the money from to pay for them. The county received $15,675 in insurance payments for three of the four vehicles totaled.

“We’re working on payment for the fourth vehicle,” county purchasing agent Fiona Charleton said.

The sheriff’s office paid for two vehicles through its own funds. The sheriff’s office also priced a Ford Interceptor Utility vehicle and a Chevrolet Caprice. The Chargers are $22,300 each, more than $4,000 below the next lowest-priced vehicle.

The ECSO is acquiring its new Dodge Chargers from Butler in Beaufort, S.C., the nearest dealer that sells police-duty Dodge Chargers. Butler also can deliver the cars immediately while Chargers through the federal General Services Administration where more than $2,000 more expensive per car and would not be delivered for another four to six weeks.

While there are not general fund revenues appropriated to cover the cost of the new cars, the county does have money coming from savings on the jail inmate food service contract and on higher-than-anticipated proceeds, about $287,000, from the insurance rollback. The county is estimating to save $10,000 a month from its new jail inmate food service contract.

The county and the city of Rincon also are working on bringing the south communications tower back online. County Administrator David Crawley said radio equipment provider Motorola offered a proposal of $531,000 for apparatus needed at the tower, and other infrastructure costs to get the tower back in operation on a short-term basis were pegged at $93,000.

“It doesn’t address the long term we have to deal with,” Crawley said, “which is about another $1.2 million in the future.”

Annual service agreements also may run nearly $75,000, and Crawley said the county is looking to consolidate those agreements.

“We think there could be some savings there,” he said.

If the equipment is put in place, the tower could be back online as soon as September.

Crawley said officials are working to finalize the frequencies the tower could use, and that some state frequencies may be available. Using state frequencies could save money.

“They may be able to give us seven frequencies,” he said.