The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of 51 new vehicles for the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office at its most recent meeting.

During the meeting, the purchase of 42 Ford Explorers for patrol use, five Ford Explorers for administrative use, one Chevrolet Tahoe for the K-9 Division and three Ford F-150 trucks, along with all of the necessary equipment and graphics, was approved in the total amount of $2,493,575. County Manager Jerry Cooper informed the board this purchase was possible through the use of excess special purpose local option sales tax revenue.

At the board of commissioners planning retreat in January, Sheriff Frank Reynolds said one key issue facing the sheriff’s office was the need for newer vehicles, as some of those in service have exceeded the lifespan law enforcement agencies prefer to put on such vehicles. Upon hitting this lifespan, maintenance issues can become more significant of a problem, resulting in higher costs for upkeep and also potentially resulting in the vehicles being down for maintenance work on a relatively regular basis.

“The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office has been maintaining an aging fleet of vehicles for a number of years,” Cherokee Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Jay Baker said. “Although this is a significant expense, ultimately we feel it will save money in reduced maintenance costs and will allow us to better serve the citizens of Cherokee County.”

Despite the upfront cost of nearly $2.5 million, there were some places in which the county was able to save some money in the purchase. The lowest bidder on the 47 Ford Explorers, Wade Ford in Smyrna, was approximately $200 cheaper per unit than the next lowest bidder, while Prologic, the company installing all necessary equipment in the vehicles, offered the county reduced pricing for the job due to the large order that will save the county almost $33,000 from what this job would traditionally cost. The Chevrolet Tahoe for the K-9 division was purchased from Brannen Motor Company of Unadilla in the amount of $34,400, while King Ford of Murphy, North Carolina provided the lowest cost for all three F-150s. Of the three, the two police-rated F-150s from King Ford were just under $1,000 less expensive than those from the next lowest bidder, while the F-150 to be used as an administrative vehicle was the lowest priced vehicle of its kind by around $100.

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