Franklin County Sheriff Buys Hybrid Cruisers

FARMINGTON — Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. got approval Tuesday to spend up to $205,000 to buy and equip hybrid cruisers after being notified that five orders in February would not arrive.

The money will come from Franklin County’s appropriation of $5.86 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, according to a 2-1 vote of commissioners. Lance Harvell of Farmington and Bob Carlton of Freeman Township approved; President Terry Brann of Wilton objected 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 outfit each with blue lights, push bars and roll cages, among other necessities, for about $204,869. It was split into $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 exchange five cruisers.

Ford has halted production of the 2022 Explorer hybrid interceptors due to supply and material issues and the deal cannot be honored, Nichols said.

The motion to buy the cruises said it was for the most amount possible for the money approved.

The cost for cruises remains between $40,000 and $44,000 and is not expected to go down, Nichols said. He said it is not known how many they will be able to find to buy.

The sheriff also received approval to sell the five vehicles that were to be traded. Information about the offer will be posted on the Franklin County Sheriff’s Facebook page, as well as other sites.

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

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

Deputy Chief Steven Lowell found a 2022 Explorer Interceptor in Massachusetts and asked the dealer to hold it until they could take it to commissioners on Tuesday. Commissioners approved spending $40,534.35 to replace a second cruiser that was also destroyed in an accident over the summer.

The cost of the two replacement cruise ships that crashed in July and August it will be paid for with about $51,500 in insurance money and the remainder from the Sheriff’s Office’s Operation Stonegarden funds.

Nichols said the distributor has been asked to salvage five cruise ships when the next big shipment arrives in December or early 2023.

The department is also replacing its .45 caliber Glocks with 9mm Glocks. The commissioners approved that the deputies buy the Glocks they have for their trade value.

A third-party dealer will do the processing for federal firearms licenses, including background checks, Nichols said.

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

Susan Pratt, administrator of the county’s ARPA program, called it 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 did not include the locks. The project was re-tendered and three were received. One did not meet specifications.

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Commissioners chose the highest bidder, Minuteman Security Technologies of Saco, to perform the upgrade.

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