FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners voted Tuesday to allow the sheriff to go out to bid for a Ford Explorer Interceptor for the jail.

The Sheriff’s Office included $51,000 in the jail budget for a transport van for those people in custody who may need to be brought somewhere or picked up. A current vehicle will most likely not take a sticker the next time it is inspected.

The jail has a newer van to use but needs a second vehicle in case multiple inmates have to go somewhere or be picked up.

Chief Deputy Steven Lowell told commissioners that he has been told it will be a minimum of one year to get a transport van.

Instead of waiting that long, he asked that they go out to bid for an interceptor SUV.

Commissioner Lance Harvell of Farmington asked if they were looking to get a hybrid vehicle, which operates half on gas and half on electricity. It would be covered under the American Rescue Plan Act funds, he said.


Five hybrid Interceptor Explorer cruisers for the Sheriff’s Office are on order and the money for the vehicles is coming out of the federal grant funds. The total cost for the five cruisers, with trade-in value, was estimated at $157,000. The vehicles were ordered in February. The last information Lowell said he had, was the new cruisers should arrive at the end of the month, but he is not holding his breath.

Whatever they get, a conventional vehicle or hybrid needs to be a police-rated vehicle, Sheriff Scott Nichols said.

When the transport van was priced out last year, the cost was about $51,000, he said. Now they are running $60,000 to $70,000, he added.

The sheriff has only one spare cruiser, because one was destroyed in a motor vehicle crash earlier this month, Lowell said.

They plan to set up the new vehicle for the jail to take up to two people in custody at a time. Currently the SUV’s are only set up to take one person at a time. If they need to transport more people, they will use the newer van.

By getting the interceptor SUV, it will save the county money, Nichols said.

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