The purchase of motor vehicles represents a major chunk of any law enforcement agency’s budget. And because of the need officers have to be mobile, and to have reliable transportation to respond to citizens’ calls and occasionally engage in pursuits, those vehicles must be reliable. The fleet is refreshed annually so that one year in the future, everything doesn’t break down at the same time.

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department has just benefited greatly from laws that allow assets seized from those involved in criminal conduct to be used to enhance public safety. Last week, Sheriff Bobby Grubbs announced that this process has helped make it possible to add three vehicles to his department.

One is a 2006 Hummer H3 seized in a drug arrest. Although it technically belongs to the district attorney’s office, county officials determined it would be better to add it to the fleet than sell it and try to purchase something else. The other vehicles are both 2009 models — a Chevrolet Tahoe and a Ford F-150 pickup — acquired with a combination of seized drug funds, revenue from the inmate cell phone system and state grants. In all, the vehicles are valued at $97,000.

The costs of adding the necessary police equipment would be incurred with any vehicle purchased, so the savings to the county and the benefits to the sheriff’s department are obvious — especially knowing that these are specialized vehicles with unique capabilities which the county might otherwise never be able to acquire.

Brownwood Bulletin