The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).





Of Bradley County Tn.


NOVEMBER  2007

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.

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Sheriff's Patrol Vehicles - Answers
"[ I ] can't agree to a budget that forces deputies to depend on outdated equipment and exhausted patrol vehicles." Sheriff Tim Gobble

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by Tonya Sprague  People News reporter

On June 17 of this year, in an article written by Bradley County Sheriff, Tim  Gobble

titled "Driven," Gobble stated that 138 usable vehicles are assigned to one of five divisions and 33 vehicles with over 200,000 miles remain in use in some capacity. He explained that there were 21 in the Patrol Division, one in the Training, Professional Development, and Support Services Division, one in the Criminal Investigations Division (CID), 7 in the Judicial Services Division, and 3 in the Corrections Division. Also included in the Driven article were statistics from other publications about the risks of high mileage fleet vehicles that are still in use, the benefits of replacing them, replacement and rotation policies from agencies around the country, and information that Gobble hopes is helpful to provide a clearer

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understanding for his budget request to replace the 33 high mileage vehicles. Sheriff Gobble mentioned the BCSO currently averages approximately 30,000 miles per year on patrol vehicles.

Many questions regarding the overall status of the Bradley County Sheriff's Department fleet have gone unanswered or have not included enough documentation to accurately support the claims, causing confusion among County Commissioners and taxpayers. To determine if Sheriff Gobble's budget request for 33 new vehicles to replace those with 200,000 plus miles was justifiable, more

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information was needed. With the full cooperation of Sheriff Tim Gobble and staff of the Bradley County Sheriff's Department, The People News researched the BCSO fleet records in an attempt to clarify any confusion. Each vehicle in the fleet was researched individually, with average monthly and yearly mileage and total mileage calculated from the most up-to-date fleet maintenance records available. The Vehicle Identification Number and the BCSO vehicle asset number was used to identify individual vehicles for this research.

Since the main concern was placed on vehicles that patrol the streets of Bradley County, this report will concentrate on the

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Patrol Division of  the BCSO, which includes the School Resource Officers (SRO) and the traffic unit. From the data collected, there are 133 vehicles in the BCSO fleet, 33 have 200,000 miles or more, 10 of which have broken odometers and one vehicle with over 300,000 miles. When compared to Sheriff Tim Gobble's "Driven" article the results are quite different. Gobble's article had 21 vehicles in the Patrol Division with over 200,000 miles but there are actually 19 in use in some capacity, 7 of which are assigned to School Resource Officers, one is a reserve vehicle and 4 have broken odometers. The People News found that the BCSO currently averages approximately 23,500 miles per year  for all patrol division vehicles not 30,000. A higher percentage of the high mileage vehicles are allocated to deputies on patrol, with the later model lower mileage cars issued to their superior officers.

Some law enforcement agencies, as well as the BCSO, use an assigned vehicle program, also known as take home vehicles. Each  member of every division and shift is issued with a take home car dedicated for that person's use. Other agencies use a pool vehicle fleet program, or "hot seat" cars that are used 24/7.  These vehicles are driven continuously by deputies on every shift with no cars assigned for take home use.  In most cases, the average pool fleet vehicle accumulates higher miles per year than the take home vehicle, there are usually higher annual maintenance costs but less cars are needed to equip the law enforcement agency and no cars are sitting idle for extended periods. The question of whether this is beneficial for the tax payer is highly debated.

What is known is that the Bradley County Commission, Mayor D. Gary Davis, and The Finance Committee approved the purchase of 11 of the 33 new cars Sheriff Tim Gobble was requesting. These 11 new 2008 Ford Police Interceptors have been purchased for $21,172 each from Jackie Jones of Sweetwater. They should be arriving to the BCSO in  less than 6 to 8 weeks. One of the 11 new vehicles will go to the Transport Team in the Corrections Division. The 10 remaining new vehicles will replace 10  of the worst vehicles in the Patrol Division. The replacement of  the 10 worst vehicles is decided by the Captain of the Patrol Division, so the actual cars to be replaced is unknown. Also, it costs $13,180 to outfit each new vehicle with light bars and other equipment to ready it for patrol duties. This process takes about 2 days per car. The total cost per car is $34,352. The total cost for all 11 new 2008 Ford Police Interceptors is $377,872.

Some questions may still remain unanswered by this research, but perhaps many have been clarified and can possibly help a solution as to why Sheriff Gobble, "can't agree to a budget that forces deputies to depend on outdated equipment and exhausted patrol vehicles." 
.

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Totals for this survey will be tabulated at the end of November 2007.
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The People News
PO Box 3921
Cleveland TN. 37320
(423) 559-2150  Fax 559-1044

Pete Edwards, Editor - Publisher
Copyright 2007 (All rights reserved)

Tonya Sprague
People News reporter

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