Sheriff’s office buys cars, lacks equipment

The Shelby County Sheriff’s office will be putting new cruisers on the street this fall despite a lack of funding to buy new in-car equipment.

Captain Ken Burchfield said the department will purchase ten new vehicles, five of which have already been ordered.

Each car costs $21, 0000 and equipment costs total $25,000 for each car, Burchfield said.

“We had the money to buy the cars, but we don’t have the money for all that equipment,” he said.

Equipment needed includes lights, sirens, radios, computers, video cameras and e-ticket equipment.

Until the department can come up with the funding to buy new equipment, they will be taking used equipment out of older cars, Burchfield said.

“It’s not as good, it’s not like putting the latest equipment in,” he said. “We look everyday for opportunities such as grants. But so far nothing has worked out.”

Not all the equipment is mandatory, such as video cameras, but it does help the officers do a better job, Burchfield said.

In the past, the department has tried to purchase new cars every year. Because of the recession and cuts to the budget, they have not been able to stay in that rotation, Burchfield said.

“This money was not slated for cars,” he said. “But because we were frugal, we saved the money from other things. If we go three or four years without any new cars, it will be a tremendous expense later on.”

Five cruisers have been ordered and are waiting to be picked up, Burchfield said. The other five will be ordered in October after the state receives new bids for the dealership contract.