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Sheriff in Franklin County, Maine, Shops for Hybrid Cruisers

Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. got approval Tuesday to spend up to $205,000 to buy hybrid cruisers and equip them, after being notified that five ordered in February would not actually be coming.

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(TNS) — Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. got approval Tuesday to spend up to $205,000 to buy hybrid cruisers and equip them, after being notified that five ordered in February would not be coming.

The money will come from Franklin County's allotment of $5.86 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, according to a 2-1 vote from commissioners. Lance Harvell of Farmington and Bob Carlton of Freeman Township approved; Chairman Terry Brann of Wilton opposed because he wanted the motion to include that it was for five vehicles.

Commissioners approved a deal Feb. 1 to buy five hybrid cruisers and equip each with blue lights, push bars and safety cages, among other necessities, for about $204,869. It broke down to $155,000 for the cruisers, which would run half on gas and half on electricity, and $49,000 to outfit them.

The plan was to trade-in five cruisers.

Ford stopped production of the hybrid 2022 Explorer interceptors because of supply and material issues and the deal cannot be honored, Nichols said.

The motion to buy the cruisers stated it was for as many as possible for the money approved.

The cost for cruisers is staying about $40,000 to $44,000 and is not expected to go down, Nichols said. He said it's not known how many they will be able to find to buy.

The sheriff was also given approval to sell the five vehicles that were to be traded in. The bid information will be posted on the Franklin County Sheriff's Facebook page, as well as other sites.

The Sheriff's Office was also approved to sell older equipment to the public.

Commissioners gave retroactive approval to buy an additional 2022 cruiser from a Maine dealer for $44,187.60 to replace one that was demolished in a crash during the summer.

Chief Deputy Steven Lowell found a 2022 Explorer Interceptor in Massachusetts and asked the dealership to hold it until they could bring it to commissioners Tuesday. Commissioners approved spending $40,534.35 for it to replace a second cruiser that was also destroyed in a crash during the summer.

The cost of the two replacement cruisers that crashed in July and August will be paid with about $51,500 in insurance money and the rest from the Sheriff's Office' Operation Stonegarden funds.

Nichols said they have asked the dealer to save five cruisers when the next big shipment comes in either December or early 2023.

The department is also replacing its .45-caliber Glocks with 9 mm Glocks. Commissioners approved of deputies buying the Glocks they have for their trade-in value.

A third-party dealer will do the processing for the federal firearm licenses, which includes background checks, Nichols said.

In other business, commissioners also approved spending $631,201.68 from ARPA funds to upgrade the jail security system, including locks. It includes a $32,000 annual service agreement.

Susan Pratt, the county ARPA program administrator, said it is a "highly sophisticated system" and recommended the county include the agreement.

Commissioners previously approved spending up to $290,600 for the project after initial bids came in but didn't include locks. The project was resent for bids and three were received. One did not meet the specifications.

The commissioners went with low bidder, Minuteman Security Technologies of Saco, to do the upgrade.

© 2022 the Sun Journal (Lewiston, Maine). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.