The county will consider donating a used sheriff’s office patrol vehicle, ordinarily destined for auction, to the Lusk Police Department.
Sheriff Scott Matheny said that the request came in from the Lusk PD the week prior to the commission workshop last Thursday, who referred to a similar patrol vehicle donation made to Niobrara County several years ago.
Then, it had been former County Commissioner Mickey Shober who had first proposed transferring used, intact patrol vehicles rather than stripping them down for auction.
“I think everybody made out, it was good thing,” Matheny said.
So far, the sheriff’s office has identified a couple of vehicle’s that are perfect candidates for the donation. Each of them have more than 140,000 miles on them, and are due for replacement.
Commissioner Mark Christensen approved of the idea, saying that transferring another, intact patrol vehicle could save the county some money and would ultimately be in the taxpayer’s best interest.
“A lot of the time when we transfer these, they just get transferred with the light bar and stuff that’s already there,” Christensen said. “Otherwise, we have to pay for someone to [take] that off. It’s costing us more to take that stuff off than it is to auction [the vehicle].”
Realistically, the county can only expect to save $400 to $500, but the money isn’t the primary focus of the commissioners, it’s the act itself.
“I’ve always liked this because you’re doing something good for somebody,” Christensen concluded.
Commissioner DG Reardon, however, pointed out a possible problem that may follow once the word got out that the county was giving away patrol vehicles for free.
“You would have a bunch of people wanting these vehicles,” and lining up to receive a free vehicle from, what they would see, as a generous Campbell County, Reardon said.
Robert Palmer, commission administrative director, said that, if that time comes, the county may need to prioritize to which county the vehicle is donated to each year.
“We’ll have to think of some protocol for this to go through and evaluate who is the [neediest],” Reardon agreed.
Palmer added that the county should also consider donating a vehicle with less mileage, by moving the replacement date for a vehicle up a couple of years.
Doing so would mean the sheriff’s office still gets a new patrol car, and the Lusk Police Department receives a vehicle with a few extra years of use left in it.
However, the county should not handicap the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office by donating a vehicle currently in use, and would need to purchase a new patrol vehicle before the donation took place.
The cost of a new patrol vehicle will be worked into the upcoming budget meetings.