DERBY – The Orleans County Sheriff’s Department is rising from the wreckage of the Roger Pion rampage and slowly but surely rebuilding its fleet of vehicles. Monday morning, University of Vermont Campus Security donated a 2008 Crown Victoria cruiser to the department.
Other than registering it, putting on decals and installing a two-way radio, the cruiser is ready to go. The vehicle is already well equipped with police lights, a rifle rack, rechargeable flashlight, a rear seat prisoner cage and a security cage.
“Whatever you can do with it, it’s yours,” UVM Police Lt. Larry Magnant told Orleans County Sheriff Kirk Martin. “If you can’t use it and you know another PD that can use it, it’s theirs.”
It was Magnant’s idea to donate the car.
UVM used the cruiser in its patrol unit up until a week ago. For the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department, the cruiser replaces one of seven that local farmer Roger Pion demolished with a large tractor earlier this month.
Long before the incident, UVM planned to get rid of the car as part of the vehicle replacement program. In the past, UVM sold cruisers to other police departments and other times it traded them.
Magnant declined to give an estimate on the value of the cruiser. “The value of it is what it is worth to these folks,” he said. “I can’t put a value on goodwill.”
The cruiser has 45,720 miles. UVM Police has a small geographical area to patrol, which is why the car has low milage.
However, officers do a lot of stops and starts, turns and other types of city type traffic, which is why the cruiser has less mileage than a state police or municipal cruiser of the same year might have.
Martin is delighted with the donation. Since the crushing incident, the sheriff’s office has been using cruisers from several other counties. However, that arrangement will likely be short-lived. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department took back its cruiser Monday. A cruiser from Windham County will go back sometime this week. Other departments around the state have also helped with transports.
Martin said the department’s insurance company paid approximately $70,000, just enough to buy 2.5 new cruisers. He explained insurance companies pay cash value, not replacement cost. The total amount of damage was about a quarter million dollars. Money not covered by insurance will come from tax dollars and funds the department receives through contracts, or possibly through restitution and fund raising.
Martin has already purchased four vehicles; one was actually bought before the incident. Two have already arrived at sheriff's office. The vehicles are 2013 Ford Interceptors. One is a sedan and the second is a sport utility vehicle.
Martin purchased three of the department's vehicles from Hayes Ford in Newport City; the fourth came from a dealer in New Hampshire.
Martin is a strong advocate in buying locally and said Mark Hayes has been very accommodating to the department, Martin said.
“We’re all right,” said Martin. “We’re not rock bottom but we’re not on top of the pile.”
Martin said he appreciates UVM’s generous offer.
“It speaks for itself,” he said. “What can I say?”