County officials to consider purchasing 8 'take-home' pickups

Commissioners to also discuss policy on use at Thursday meetings

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

Oct. 14, 2008 - Hopkins County Commissioners Court will hold a work session and special meeting Thursday to discuss and possibly take action on bids for purchase of eight addition vehicles for the sheriff's office, as well as a policy which would allow deputies to have "take home" vehicles.

During the first meeting, scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday, the court is slated to discuss bids for the purchase of eight 2008 or 2009 model year police pickup trucks. The addition of the trucks should add enough vehicles to the fleet at Hopkins County Sheriff's Office that each deputy would be assigned his or her own vehicle, which could be driven home. The purchases would also leave one truck for transporting prisoners, to serve as a reserve when repairs are needed to the fleet, or to be available for a reserve to use on-duty, Sheriff Butch Adams said recently.

The court, in a meeting in late summer, agreed to funding the purchas so deputies could have take-home vehicles, which should cut down on the wear and tear on each vehicle, and would make each deputy responsible for day-to-day maintenance of his or her own department-issued ride.

The proposal was discussed and reached as part of a compromise by the commissioners court and Hopkins County Law Enforcement Association during budget negotiations for pay increases for all sheriff's department employees. HCLEA was asking for what was a 15-17 percent pay raise across the board for HCSO employees. The compromise included a raise of up to 5 percent across the board for sheriff's employees and other "issues to be worked out," including the take-home vehicles, the county judge and HCLEA officers said following the negotiations.

HCLEA said several other counties provide take-home vehicles for their officers, which instills in each deputy more pride in taking care of their vehicle. Issuing each deputy a vehicle should cut down on the wear and tear on department trucks, they say, which in turn should result in additional savings on routine maintenance, frequency of costly repairs, and the number of vehicles that need to be purchased annually.

A policy about the use of the trucks will also be discussed at the meetings.

At 11:30 a.m. following the work session, the court is slated to consider officially accepting a bid for the trucks and to voted on a policy for the truck use, if needed.

The court can opt to go into executive session to discuss any legal matters related to these items should they deem it necessary, the agenda notes.

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