Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

Grant pays for new patrol vehicle for sheriff’s office

A new patrol vehicle is on the job in Donley County thanks to a grant from the governor’s office through the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission.

Deputy Miranda Betts with the county’s new Chevrolet Tahoe patrol vehicle. Enterprise Photo / Roger Estlack

Deputy Miranda Betts says the new 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe that she has nicknamed Archie is loaded with all the latest equipment and will have no problem catching those who might try to evade a ticket.

“It will definitely run,” she says.

County Judge John Howard said the Edward Bryne Justice Assistance Grant awarded $99,211 to the county to cover most of the cost of vehicle, all of Betts’ salary for fiscal year 2017, and all the costs of supplies, equipment, and fuel for the vehicle.

Howard did most of the paperwork for the grant, but he says it was really a collaborative effort between his office, Sheriff Butch Blackburn, and DPS Sgt. Chris Ward to gather the information for the application.

The county retired a patrol truck as trade-in for the new vehicle, which the judge says is better suited to the job of the highway safety officer.

“This is a highway pursuit vehicle,” Howard said. “It is more stable and more capable and fits in better with us complementing DPS efforts on the highway.”

The judge said the county will be applying for continuing grant funds for the next four years to help cover a portion of Betts’ salary. Those funds, if approved, would decline over time – 80 percent next year then 60, 40, and 20 percent.

The Tahoe will have about a three- to four-year service life with the county before it needs to be traded off while it still retains a good value, Howard and Blackburn both said. At which time the county might be able to apply for another equipment grant to fund its replacement.

Howard said Donley County’s grant was ranked first out of seven applications reviewed by the PRPC.

“Given our position, we have to be smart about seeing opportunities like this to save the county money,” Howard said. “Someone is going to get this money, so we might as well apply for it.”

Howard also said that the county is grateful for the job Betts has been doing to patrol the highways, and Betts says she is thankful for the new vehicle.

“I would like to thank Butch and Judge Howard for their work on this grant, and for helping me have the best most up to date equipment possible to do the job,” Betts said.

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