ROXBURY, NJ – In its seven years of service with the Roxbury Police Department, a truck known as “Vehicle 81” likely helped police save many lives. It now has a chance to save Morris County taxpayers many dollars.
The 2008 Ford F-450 parked behind the Roxbury police station is an emergency services unit (EMS) that carries medical and other emergency response equipment. It’s just the type of truck the Morris County Sheriff’s Department wants, said department spokeswoman Susan Hunter.
“This type of vehicle was something we had in our 2015 capital budget that was approved by the freeholders” she said.
In a case illustrative of the idiom “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” Roxbury no longer wants or needs Vehicle 81 and has designated it a piece of “surplus property.” The township is willing to sell the vehicle for $20,000.
When the folks at the sheriff’s department heard about that, they took the taxpayer friendly approach and figured that, despite its age, Vehicle 81 would be just fine, said Hunter. “The vehicle we need was actually budgeted at $110,000,” she said. “But we ended up finding this one second-hand at quite a bit of savings. Obviously, the freeholders were very much in favor of it as well.”
Morris County Undersheriff Edward Crooker sent the Roxbury Township Council a “formal request for the purchase” of Vehicle 81, saying the sheriff’s office will use the truck in the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Response Team (SERT). In his letter, Crooker said the Roxbury truck’s 4-wheel-drive capability will make it especially valuable to the SERT.
“SERT is requesting the replacement of our current 2003 “Tactical Equipment Vehicle,” which is a Ford Box Van, otherwise known as our “Bread Truck,” wrote Crooker. “The vehicle, which is rear-wheel-drive, currently secures and stores all of our tactical gear, weapons and breaching equipment. The replacement of our rear-wheel-drive vehicle with a four-wheel-drive vehicle will immediately enhance our capabilities to respond to all calls for services in all types of weather and terrain. Presently, we do not have the ability to respond effectively and efficiently during inclement weather or within terrain which would preclude a rear-wheeled drive truck.”
A resolution authorizing the deal was written and is now under review by Roxbury Township Attorney Anthony Bucco. The draft resolution notes that Roxbury is selling Vehicle 81 “as is” and with no warranty.
Even if it costs a bit of money to repair or refurbish the truck, the county is likely to come out ahead, said Hunter. “It’s something Roxbury no longer needs and something we do need, so we are basically taking it off their hands,” she said. “They get some money and we save quite a bit of money.”