KARNES CITY – Commissioners court voted unanimously to approve the purchase of a new emergency response vehicle for the Karnes County Sheriff’s Office during a special meeting of the court Friday, Aug. 30.

“It will be a multi-use vehicle. It can be used as a command center when we conduct drug raids. It holds 13 people not including the driver and one other front section personnel,” said Deputy Chief Robert Ebrom.

“We won’t have to have a parade of police cars heading to a location which can tip off the subjects,” Ebrom said.

The deputy chief went on to describe the vehicle as a Ford van that has been armor-plated and configured with cameras and computers, with its own Wifi application, to assist officers in their duty and to increase the margin of safety involved in the project.

“What is really good about such a vehicle is that it can also be used in evacuations during county emergencies and it will be available to surrounding counties and laaw enforcement entities if a need should arise,” said Ebrom.

The vehicle will be a county vehicle and a storage facility will be funddedd by the Sheriff’s Department to store the vehicle and its equipment.

The purchase price was stated at $135,400.

“Some of these vehicles can cost in excess of $250,000, but this one fits our needs,” said Ebrom.

Commissioners Shelby Dupnik and Sean O’Brien  noted that the county should pay for half of that purchase price with the Sheriff’s Department coming up with the rest.

That was perfectly fine with the Sheriff’s office as money confiscated from drug raids and from donations will take care of the rst of the price.

“We have the funds to do this and purchase a storage building for the unit,” said Ebrom.

The court unanimously approved the purchase and agreed to budget half of the cost at $67,700 to be paid by the county.

“It will be a county vehicle and it will last a very long time,” said Ebrom.

Commissioner Sharon Chesser  approved of the court’s action and said, “It’s important for the safety of our county residents.”

In an item up for discussion at the meeting, the court asked the Road and Bridge Engineer Wayne Gisler to devise a plan to seal coat a portion of an entry and/or exit road near Joe Gulley Park in Kenedy. The court was interested in finding out the cost of such a project. It would be an access point for people walking to and from the Escondido Creek Parkway project in the future.

The court also asked Sheriff Dwayne Villanueva to continue discussion with local wrecker companies for use in towing light vehicles and heavy vehicles. The rotation system now used has had some complaints, but the Sheriff has said he is working on getting an agreement among the companies on a workable rotation system that will provide the faster service to the county.

Former editor of Karnes Countywide, Beeville sports