CALDWELL - In highly dangerous and critical situations such as a standoff with police, many times officers bring out an armored vehicle, a large, black, bulletproof truck that acts not only as a car but as a human shield.
The Canyon County Sheriff’s Office says it's an important addition to their fleet of vehicles and they are asking for a new one as the county's 2018 fiscal year budget is up for negotiation.
The sheriff’s office has asked for a new armored vehicle for the past two years, and was denied both times.
Chief Deputy Marv Dashiell says the current rig in use is a safety risk for officers and the public.
The sheriff’s office existing armored vehicle is a hand-me-down 1982 GMC bank delivery car without four-wheel drive.
“We have used it for the purpose that it's been in our inventory for nine years,” said Dashiell.
Dashiell says in addition to being outdated, the vehicle isn't safe.
“It's not safe for our officers to continue to operate in,” he said. “We have had a carbon monoxide detector in it, and in a short 10-mile drive the carbon monoxide detector has been activated.”
Dashiell isn't sure how big the department’s budget for 2018 will be, but says last year’s came out to around $24 million.
A new armored vehicle would cost the department $275,000.
“We're not trying to go max out, we're looking at something that would be effective and kind of the bare bones to meet the needs of this community at this time,” said Dashiell.
And with a 20- to 30-year life span, Dashiell says the vehicle will pay for itself.
“Whether it's protecting our officers that have families, their husbands, fathers, their brothers, or sisters, or children of their parents, or somebody else in the public that we done in and we've been able to remove from them from a dangerous situation,” he said.
Along with a new armored vehicle, the sheriff’s office also hopes to address overcrowding at the county jail.
“One of the budget lines we have asked for is an increase in out-of-county housing costs, last fiscal year we spent $250,000 housing inmates out of the county,” said Dashiell. “We have to be looking into the future, whether that is a solution of more jail space or do we change the process of the judicial system so that the jails aren't being used.”
In late July, the budget will be posted for public review, then on August 8 there will be public testimony and commissioners will decide whether or not to adopt the budget.
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