GCSO to get 7 new vehicles

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Grayson County commissioners approved the purchase of seven new patrol vehicles Tuesday.

Grayson County commissioners Tuesday approved paying the bill for seven new patrol vehicles for the GC Sheriff's Office.

The price for the seven 2020 Tahoe police equipped vehicles came to $214,900 and was in the sheriff's budget for this year. 

Sheriff Tom Watt was in the room when commissioners considered the matter as a part of their consent agenda. 

He spoke about the purchase after the meeting and  said it is his office's practice to switch out patrol vehicles after they have 150,000 miles or when their repair costs becomes prohibitive, whichever comes first. He said generally they do about five vehicles a year but they must have had a couple more who met that criteria this year.

Watt said the vehicles are used for 12-hour shifts for patrol officers and run virtually that entire shift often on rough county back roads. The cars can be sometimes be driven for 150 miles or more a day.

Because of the type of electronics that come with a modern day police unit, he said, they are usually left running even when an officer is out of the car especially in the summer to keep those electronics from over heating. 

That puts a lot of wear and tear on a vehicle quickly.

However, Watt said, those cars are not just traded in for the new ones. If a vehicle has any life left in it at all it is generally given to another department in the county system to use while it still can be used.

Sometimes cars are passed down to investigators or others in the Grayson County District Attorney's Office or other county offices where cars are required.

"We try and squeeze all of the blood out of the turnip that we can," he said.

Watt said deputies do drive their cars home at night as well.

"We look at (sending the cars home with the officers) as a force multiplier for us especially with the few deputies that we have. When they step out of their house we want them ready to go because you never know where they are going to end up going. There are 934 square miles in Grayson County and at any one time there may be four deputies, maybe five. So if a deputy is going somewhere and he is off duty and he is authorized to take that vehicle then that's just another person on the street that could respond to some type of emergency," Watt said.