Neb. sheriff seeks to replace aging squads

By Chabella Guzman
The Scottsbluff Star-Herald

Patrolling the wide-open spaces of Scotts Bluff County can really rack up the miles and put wear and tear on a car.

Scotts Bluff County Sheriff Mark Overman and his deputies know, since they put more than 20,000 miles on a patrol car a year. The oldest patrol car the department has is a 2006 Crown Victoria, which has more than 125,000 miles on it. It is one of two patrol cars — the other a 2008 Dodge Charger.

Overman went before the Scotts Bluff County Commissioners Monday night to seek funding to replace the vehicles.

The cars had been in the original budget Overman submitted, but because of budget cuts, were denied by the commissioners.

In December, Overman approached the commissioners with $118,000 to use for the patrol cars and his budget.

Jerry Crable, Scotts Bluff management accountant, noted the money should be put into the county fund. An amendment to the budget would be needed to allow the sheriff’s department to use the money for patrol cars.

Overman again asked Monday night for two patrol cars, a total of around $61,500. The money would come from insurance savings and fees, acquired over 10 years, which had been moved into the county’s fund.

Commissioner Ken Meyer agreed Overman had shown the money was available and a public hearing should be set up to amend the budget.

The commissioners were not all in agreement. Commissioner Sheri Blaha didn’t believe it was fair for the sheriff’s department to receive the entire amount, when other departments had also suffered budget cuts.

“I would be in favor of one car, but not both,” she said.

Commissioner Steve Stratton said Overman had done what they had asked.

“He’s not asking for the whole amount,” Stratton said. “He did what we asked and I have no problem with allowing two cars.”

A public hearing has been scheduled for Monday, Feb. 24, for the purchase of two patrol cars.

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