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Henry to get new patrol cars

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Henry County Police Maj. Jason Bolton made a request Tuesday to the Henry County Board of Commissioners to award the lowest bid for the purchase of six, 2011 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor vehicles to Legacy Ford of McDonough. Commissioners unanimously approved the request.

The current patrol-car fleet is aging to the point where many vehicles must be replaced, said Bolton, adding that replacement was considered the most-economical solution, a better answer than continued maintenance and repairs on the-most-aged vehicles.

The department has 32 patrol cars in its fleet with more than 150,000 miles on them, he said. Of those, 14 have more than 180,000 miles. Officers patrol all over the county, using the cruisers and are not limited to a specific area, he said.

The department plans to replace six of its most-aged vehicles, with newer models, worth a combined total $125,940. The cars will be purchased using money from the police department's Asset Forfeiture and Seized Funds Account, according to Bolton.

The police department expects to receive a total of ten new vehicles soon, when you add the six requested Tuesday, to four already being funded through the county, Bolton said.

"Mike Bush, from finance, recently made the request for the other four [along with additional vehicles for several other county departments] within the last month or so," Bolton said. "All ten [police vehicles] will be ordered from the lowest bidder, Legacy Ford."

Bolton said that, once the vehicles are ordered, they should be delivered within about 10 weeks. He said retired police cars are often sold at the county auction.

The police department also got approval, a 5-0 vote, to use Seized Assets and Forfeiture Account funds to purchase surveillance equipment for its narcotics division.

The division accepted a quote from B & H Photo/Video for a total cost of $14,876.95.

"Surveillance is an integral part of any narcotics investigation," Bolton said. "The ability to take quality photographs or video while conducting surveillance is very important in helping to build a strong case for prosecution.

"Whether the surveillance is captured in still frame shots or video just depends on the investigation or the situation," he said.

The division is currently operating with one functioning video camera and no digital cameras that are capable of taking long-range photographs, or video footage, according to Bolton, who said that capturing surveillance, now, is limited, and may expose the officers to the dangers of being identified or injured.