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Sheriff requests funds for cruisers

Sheriff Rodney (Rod) Seelye asked the Harrison County Council Monday night for $100,000 to purchase three police cruiser vehicles and lease four other vehicles.
Seelye said it will cost about $10,000 to lease the four vehicles for the rest of the year, and he’s asking for $30,000 per vehicle for the new ones.
The county will see considerable savings with his lease agreement for the four vehicles, which are unmarked cars that will be used by detectives, Seelye said, adding that the vehicles won’t have normal police cruiser equipment and the cars can be switched out on a weekly basis.
‘It doesn’t take long for the criminals to learn what we’re driving,’ Seelye said.
Seelye, who has two detectives, said he hopes to have five in the near future.
He said the four cars, which will not be new but will have somewhere between 25,000 and 60,000 miles on them, will be allotted a total of 96,000 miles per year. Seelye said he didn’t anticipate the mileage to be an issue.
‘We clearly would have issues if they were marked cars driving all over the county,’ he said.
Also, the company leasing the cars will pay for any major mechanical issues with the vehicles and the sheriff’s department will only have to pay for minor issues, such as oil changes and tire rotations.
Commissioner Chair James Goldman, who was at the council’s meeting, said Seelye needs to check with legal counsel John E. Colin about leasing because the commissioners should do all of the leasing for the county.
Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes said the sheriff’s department is 14 cars behind on its ‘gentleman’s agreement’ with the county for seven cars per year.
‘They’re definitely short on vehicles,’ Goldman said.
Seelye said the department is currently operating down four road officers but should be up to full strength soon.
The council also moved to change a salary ordinance for the sheriff so he can move a person from first shift to second or third shift.
‘I’d like the ability to put one more person on night watch,’ Seelye said.
In other business, the council approved $9,000 for pool chairs out of the park fund with a 5-2 vote. Councilman Gordon Pendleton and Ralph Sherman were against. Councilman Chris Timberlake, just before making the motion to take the money out of the park fund, had made a motion for the request to be taken out of riverboat gaming funds. That motion, however, failed 3-4, with Sherman, Council Chair Gary Davis and councilmen Phil Smith and Richard Gerdon against.
The council unanimously approved $10,000 for heat pumps needed for David Simon, county maintenance supervisor, and $4,800 for the circuit court clerk’s office for maternity and medical leave.
At the council’s next meeting, Monday, June 13, at 7 p.m., besides the sheriff’s additional, it will vote on $474,000 for the Lanesville connector road, nearly $360,000 for a truck for the Elizabeth Volunteer Fire Department and $193,000 for Emergency Medical Services out of riverboat gaming funds. Out of the general fund, the seven-member board will vote on $7,000 for Harrison County Surveyor Harold Klinstiver for part-time money and nearly $1,800 for liability insurance for the sheriff.