Brantley County Sheriff’s Office deputies will soon be riding in new vehicles after getting approval from the Brantley County Board of Commissioners.

A request for four 2021 SSV F-150 Police Responders from Chief Deputy John Simpson was discussed during the Tuesday, July 6 work session and approved during the Thursday, July 8 monthly meeting of the commissioners.

The COVID era of the past year put the vehicle industry in slow production as automakers temporarily closed their plants.

“It has been very difficult to find SSV F-150 trucks we need to continue our vehicle program,” County Manager Toby Harris explained to the commissioners Tuesday. “Some of the dealerships we have worked with in the past are no longer attempting to get these vehicles concentrating rather on regular vehicles for their lots.”

Harris said the Sheriff’s Office started researching and found Brannen Ford, located in Unadilla, had four 2021 SSV F-150 Police Responders for a price of $32,300 per vehicle.

“We looked at what it would cost to have them stickered with lights and everything for a cost of $42,000 apiece and $168,00 total,” the county manager said. “It’s a little more than the last time we purchased vehicles.”

Monies received from the ARP (American Rescue Plan) will be used in paying for the vehicles. ARP is a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by the 117th United States Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021, to speed up the United States’ recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing recession.

The BCSO was originally looking at three trucks, but a fourth was put in when one unit was totaled (wrecked during chase).

“We do have the funds,” Harris said. “We are looking at a total of about $168,000 to purchase the four. They are holding them at Brannen Ford until further notice from this board.”

Commissioner Randy Davison made the motion Thursday to purchase the vehicles using ARP funds with Commissioner Hal Herndon seconding the motion. The motion passed 3-0. Commissioners Brian Hendrix and Jesse Mobley were not present.

Harris said he met with Sheriff Len Davis on the possibility of purchasing two more vehicles utilizing a USDA grant (U.S. Department of Agriculture).

USDA Rural Development offers a competitive grant designed to support targeted technical assistance, training, and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas.

With the addition of four and possible six new trucks, the Sheriff’s Office will be able to push down the vehicles to other departments in the county for unsage.

“These will replace those older vehicles those departments already have,” explained Harris during Tuesday’s meeting. “They are pushing down three Tahoes.”

Commissioner Hendrix stated he was good with the purchase, but not with passing vehicles down.

“I’m not good with giving them to departments so people can just go jump into them,” said Hendrix. “I think we need to pay them (employees) the 55 cents to drive their own vehicles. I’m not saying the Tax Assessor’s office doesn’t need one or two, but if you start giving every department vehicles we’ve got problems.”

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