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Sheriff's office to get new vehicles
Also seeking bulletproof vests
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Forsyth County News

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office will buy new cars and possibly some bulletproof vests after getting approval Tuesday from county commissioners.

The commission agreed to release about $313,000 from the vehicle replacement fund for the office to purchase 13 Dodge Chargers in a 4-0 vote, with Commissioner Todd Levent absent.

Commission approval is needed to draw funding to purchase replacement cars, according to a resolution passed with the 2013 budget.

Donna Kukarola, county procurement director, said some of the Chargers will replace vehicles that are being decommissioned due to age and then head to the county surplus auction.

The 13 new vehicles are expected to arrive in 120 days.

The commissioners recently approved about $27,000 for two Ford Crown Victorias to be refurbished, but Kukarola said these cars do not qualify for that program.

Sheriff Duane Piper said Ford is no longer producing the Crown Vic, but the dealerships continue to refurbish them.

“We’re going to do that with absolutely every one of those we can, cutting down greatly on new vehicle purchases,” Piper said.

The agency also hopes to purchase 116 bulletproof vests if it receives federal grant funding.

The commission voted 4-0 to allow the sheriff’s office to apply for a U.S. Department of Justice grant for $41,760 to help pay for the vests.

If the award is received, the agency must match the amount provided by the grant.

Piper said the sheriff’s office received the federal funding prior to 2010, when the program changed the policy to award funds only to agencies that require their officers to wear the vests. The local policy had made vests optional for deputies.

Piper, who took office in January, said he’s made it mandatory, which allows the office to apply for the grant again.