OSWEGO — Labette County commissioners on Monday agreed to buy six new Dodge pickups for the sheriff’s department as part of a cycle of replacing older fleet vehicles to save on repair costs and down time.

The board agreed to buy the six 2016 Dodge 1500 pickups for $157,172.16, which breaks down to $26,193.36 per truck with the options of a spray-in bedliner, a back-up camera and a hitch, among the other things required of patrol vehicles. The purchase is through a law enforcement partnership program.

Sheriff Robert Sims told commissioners that similar vehicles from Ford and Chevrolet are still higher than the Dodge pickups, with similarly equipped Fords costing $33,823 and Chevrolets $31,371.

The sheriff partners with the Public Works Department on the purchase of the trucks and the trucks rotate into the Public Works fleet after three years in the sheriff’s fleet. The last purchase was made up of 2014-model year Dodge Ram pickups and these will be rotated to Public Works next year.

Public Works will kick in $78,586.08 toward the purchase of the new trucks with the sheriff kicking in the same amount. Sims said he will use jail housing money to pay for a third of his half and will seek bids from area banks to finance the remaining $52,390.72. The sheriff has a contract with the Kansas Department of Corrections for housing state inmates.

Sims said additional costs would be from outfitting the vehicles so they match the appearance of other vehicles in the fleet.

The sheriff said he may look into getting 3/4-ton trucks next year so that Public Works could rotate those vehicles into more departments. The Dodges have a shorter bed that cannot carry much, thus limiting their use throughout Public Works.

In another matter, the commission agreed to buy a 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol at a cost of $9,500 from the sheriff’s budget. The vehicle has 110,000 miles on it and was used as a K-9 vehicle. Sheriff Sims said the vehicle has been well cared for.

Jail

Sheriff Sims said he is expecting $12,989 from the state for housing state inmates in December.

He said the jail will go through an audit in February for Prison Rape Elimination Act compliance. Sims said he didn’t think the jail would pass the audit at this point, but it will give him an idea of how the jail is progressing toward being PREA compliant. The jail has until August to be PREA compliant or perhaps lose the state inmate contract.

Sims said he hopes to eventually add two more jailers, but he wants to get a better idea of the revenue stream from the state and the expenses for food and medical and jailer salaries before doing so.

Commissioner Lonie Addis agreed and reminded the sheriff that any jailers hired to support the state contract should know that their employment ends when the contract does.

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