UVM Donates Police Cruiser to Stretched-Thin Sheriff's Office
Half of office’s fleet destroyed in tractor rampage in early August
- By Jeffrey R. Wakefield
The University of Vermont has donated one of its police cruisers to the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office in Newport, Vt., whose fleet was decimated in early August when a disgruntled farmer drove a tractor over police cruisers parked behind the station. Half the office’s fleet of 14 cars was destroyed, with damage estimated at $250,000.
Lieutenant Larry Magnant of UVM Police Services drove the car, a 2008 Ford Crown Victoria with 46,000 miles, to the Newport office from Burlington on Monday morning.
To tide the office over while it works to replace the cruisers, five nearby police departments have lent vehicles to the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office, which covers all of Orleans County except for five towns. But two of the departments have said they will soon need their cruisers back.
The UVM donation was especially appreciated, said Phil Brooks, chief deputy at the sheriff’s office, because insurance coverage will be enough to replace only three of the seven destroyed cars
“We’re grateful to UVM,” he said. “It’s a big help in more ways than one. It helps financially since this is a replacement vehicle we won’t have to purchase.”
New police cars cost about $26,000, Brooks said, with necessary extras like a light bar and security cage bringing the total closer to $30,000. The donated UVM vehicle is coming with all these extras, needing only a radio and a new decal. A used cruiser costs in the neighborhood of $5,000.
“It also helps give us another car to get back on the road, so our officers can do their jobs,” Brooks said.
The UVM cruiser was due to be retired, said Magnant, who manages UVM Police’s fleet of seven marked cruisers, two unmarked ones, a pickup truck and a motorcycle.
The idea to donate the cruiser was Magnant’s, who approached UVM police chief Lianne Tuomey with the proposal. Tuomey liked the idea and went directly to the university’s senior administration, who quickly approved it.
“I’m happy we’re able to help the sheriff’s office both manage their financial resources and protect the citizens of Orleans County,” said Magnant. “We are the state’s university. When an opportunity comes along to show that, it’s very gratifying.”