“The program has started to work,” he said. “I hope the next sheriff continues the program. It provides some accountability for the maintenance of the vehicles.”
Having a take-home car is a huge benefit for the deputies, Talbert said.
“The taxpayers have every right to expect those vehicles to be maintained,” he said.
Normally the Howard County Council has appropriated $185,000 in the cumulative capital fund for the purchase of cars for the department. The unused funds will be retained in the cumulative capital fund budget.
Talbert said he will request a similar appropriation for the 2011 budget.
“It’s unreasonable to expect the sheriff to go every year without buying vehicles,” he said.
Other cost saving measures include not transferring equipment, such as radios, light bars and computers, from one vehicle to another. Talbert said the equipment is installed one time and remains in a vehicle until it is traded-in on a new car.
Talbert said since taking office as sheriff, he received a new car during his second term.
“I have treated myself the same way as all the other deputies,” he said. “It used to be some members of the department got a new car every year. Everyone is assigned a single vehicle until it reaches the 100,000-mile mark.”