Last Tuesday the Ellis County Commissioner’s Court decided to address the vehicle needs in the current budget year, instead of next budget year. The Court authorized the expenditure of not more than $720,000 on County vehicles, with the lion’s share, $630,000, going to the Sheriff’s Office.

Obviously, we are grateful to them for that, but what does that mean for the types or number of vehicles, or what is required next year?

The cost of a new patrol vehicle, typically a Tahoe, outfitted with all the lights, siren, special back seat and the separating partition between the Deputy and any prisoner being transported is a little over $43,000 each. Then you add the computer, camera and radio, and you are approaching $63,000 for each patrol vehicle we add.

We hope, of course, to use some of the equipment from the old vehicles we are releasing in the new vehicles.

The need for so many at one time is because the fleet had not been regularly addressed in increments. To that end, we are working with the Commissioner’s Court to establish a vehicle replacement fund and a rotation schedule for the fleet so we don’t find ourselves in this situation again.