The Fresno County Sheriff's Department will soon have a new look. Some deputies will be trading in their patrol cars for SUVs. Tuesday, county supervisors agreed to allow the sheriff to order a total of 43 Ford Explorers.
Sheriff Margaret Mims says the move is long overdue. She says some of the current patrol cars are 10 years old with 200,000 miles on them. It's reached a point where the maintenance is starting to cost more than buying new cars.
The Ford Explorers will replace roughly 20% of the cars in the department’s patrol fleet.
"It seems to fit our needs best," said Fresno Co. Sheriff Margaret Mims.
Sheriff Margaret Mims says the Explorer beat out sedans from Chevy and Dodge during a drive study. Mims says not only does it handle well, it gets very good gas mileage too.
"That's one thing that's very important. We drive six million miles a year, so two or three miles a gallon adds up very quickly," said Sheriff Mims.
The sheriff does not have to spend any money from her budget either. Thanks to Prop 172, $1.2 million in sales tax revenue is being used to make the purchases. Another $500,000 from asset forfeitures, such as drug money, will pay to outfit the SUVs.
"The roll bars, the push bumpers and the light bars. So that will really help us out," said Sheriff Mims.
Sergeant Kevin Lolkus is excited.
"It’s definitely going to be a good thing," said Sgt. Kevin Lolkus of the Fresno Co. Sheriff's Dept.
Sgt. Lolkus says his car is often overloaded with equipment he has to haul around on a daily basis.
"Sometimes that takes up backseat space. Now with an SUV it's going to allow us to carry the necessary equipment that sometimes people may leave behind because we don't have room. So it's going to have deputy sheriff's more equipped in the field.
Sheriff Mims plans to take delivery of two or three vehicles a week starting soon. She hopes to have all 43 Explorers by the end of the year.
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