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Supervisors to review police car repair policy

by Larry S. Chowning

The Middlesex County Board of Supervisors has agreed to review a county policy that does not allow the county sheriff’s office to do in-house maintenance and repairs to county-owned police vehicles.

At the January 5 board meeting, Middlesex Sheriff Guy Abbott provided an invoice showing that the county would have saved $246 if his office would have been allowed to fix a damaged vehicle rather than send it to a repair shop. 

“It just doesn’t make sense to spend this extra money when I have certified people right here who are willing to do the work for a lot less,” said Abbott. 

The sheriff also complained the current policy has taken deputies “off the job” in the county because they had to drive the damaged vehicles to be serviced.

The invoice he gave supervisors was from Radio Communications of Virginia Inc. in Glen Allen.

The issue of the sheriff’s office working on county police cars surfaced in September 2009 when former chairman of the board Robert Crump indicated he did not feel the sheriff should be spending his time repairing police vehicles, and that more accountability was needed. 

The sheriff contended, however, that his office saved the county thousands of dollars by repairing its own vehicles when possible.

At the January 5 board meeting, Abbott asked supervisors to change the policy and allow the county sheriff’s office to do in-house maintenance and repairs to its police vehicles. 
County attorney Mike Soberick said he needed an opportunity to review the county’s current policy that was approved unanimously by the board on September 15, 2009. The board directed Soberick to do so.

The policy states, in part, that:

  • All collision repairs to county-owned vehicles are to be made at local certified body shops after receiving at least three estimates for the repairs.
  • All county-owned vehicles shall be repaired at ASE certified local repair shops or at authorized factory dealer repair shops.
  • All vehicles’ electronic and/or communications equipment shall be maintained and repaired by factory-approved authorized service technicians.
  • No payment for work performed or repairs made by anyone other than those stated in the policy shall be made without prior approval by the board of supervisors.

Supervisors are expected to reconsider the matter at their 7:30 p.m. meeting on Tuesday, January 19.

Related Articles:

Sheriff defends car repair efforts
Supervisors bar sheriff from repairing police cars

posted 01.13.2010

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