A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Wondering about SUVs behind this wire

Written September 6th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

New Fords of the Police Interceptor model were lined up against the back fence of the sheriff’s office lot Wednesday.

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)

I parked the bike on the curb near 12th and Thurston to take a closer look at those SUVs behind the chain link fence and razor wire.


11 responses to “Wondering about SUVs behind this wire”

  1. Snailracer says:

    Good catch, HH. Should be quite a no-brainer to purchase $440,000 of vehicles (each year?!) when it’s *not* their money. Power corrupts, and absolutely excessive govern-mental budgets corrupt those beneficiaries absolutely.

    • Abe Cee says:

      I’m shocked to learn that a Ford will run for a million+ miles a year so $44k seems a steal on a per mile rate. I have more issue with the $250k+ a year for gas per SUV. (Figures based on assumed 20mpg @ $4/gal – 1300000/20=65k x $4). Would seem a more fuel efficient vehicle could be used in most cases for patrol.

      • Hasso Hering says:

        The mileage total quoted is for the patrol fleet, not a single vehicle. Wasn’t that clear?

        • Abe Cee says:

          Not the way I read it the first time but I still think a more fuel efficient fleet would be warranted if the fuel expense is really anywhere close to a quarter of a million dollars or more.

        • Jill says:

          It seemed very clear to me that’s fleet mileage. For a single car to drive 1.3M miles in a year, it would have to drive 24hr/ day for the whole year at 148mph! C’mon folks… think it through.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      If you can manage that process more efficiently & cost-effective, I’m sure they would love to hear your ideas…

    • Winston says:

      You presented no evidence to indicate this was a bad decision.

  2. Adriana says:

    So they’re white when new and then who paints and finishes them? And what does that cost? And the ones being decommissioned, how are they white again?

  3. Jamie Wilson says:

    Just Wow. Survalience vehicle’s blend in with traffic Adriana, think of them
    like spotting a gymnast. Monitoring, looking for hazardous driver’s, a watchful partner during field work. No paint involved.

  4. CHEZZ says:

    Police need a very stable vehicle – blocks shootouts, and how about those pit maneuvers, acceleration, all to protect the citizens from harm. The police need some metal around them to protect themselves too. You need to go on a ride along if they still have them.


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