On a bike ride through the Jackson Hill neighborhood of central Albany Wednesday afternoon, a line of new automobiles caught my eye.
The vehicles were parked near the corner of 12th Avenue and Thurston Street, against the back fence of the parking lot that serves the Linn County Sheriff’s Office and Jail.
All of them were Ford Police Interceptor utility vehicles, and all of them were white. I counted 11 of them, but on closer inspection not all of them were new.
For the story, if there was one, I turned to Undersheriff Micah Smith. Turns out the story is routine.
The sheriff’s office replaces some of its patrol vehicle fleet every year. This year it bought 10 new Police Interceptors through a state purchasing program, and the new vehicles started being delivered about a month ago, one at a time.
Of the vehicles along the fence, four are new and waiting to be fitted out. The others waiting there are being decommissioned, and then they’ll be sent to be auctioned off.
The unit price of the Fords under the state contract has gone up every year, Smith told me, but this year was approximately $44,000 delivered. The cost of police equipment is on top of that.
As you would expect, the sheriff”s office seeks to replace vehicles based on factors such as mileage, wear and tear, and cost of any needed repairs. In that connection it may be of interest that the department’s vehicles log an average of 1.3 million miles a year as they criss-cross the county’s 2,300 square miles. (hh)