The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office hopes to replace two battered motorcycles in order to have its traffic deputies riding easy again, and the Augusta Commission will have a chance to green-light the purchases next week.
Augusta Fleet Manager Ron Crowden is seeking approval to purchase two 2014 Honda ST1300PA Police Motorcycles at a total cost of $44,800. Should the commission approve his request, the bikes could be available to the Road Patrol Division in less than 60 days.
“The commission has been supportive for police vehicles of any kind, and I have no reason to believe they won’t be supportive of this,” Crowden said.
According to a submittal form attached to Monday’s Finance Committee meeting agenda, one of the motorcycles to be replaced is a 2003 Harley-Davidson with more than 86,000 miles, among the oldest of 16 bikes in the fleet.
In 2004, Crowden said, the commission established its vehicle replacement policy, which requires the fleet manager to score vehicles on their condition.
Vehicles are evaluated in a variety of categories, including age, the type of service they are used for and the accumulated cost of maintenance.
Vehicles scoring fewer than 18 points are considered in excellent shape, those that score 18 to 22 are in good condition, 23 to 27 points qualifies for replacement, and 28 and above needs immediate consideration.
Though police cars have a service life of about four years, motorcycles can last about five to six. The motorcycle in question is nearly double that age and scored 31 on its July 24 evaluation.
“It serves no purpose for a deputy to be called to an emergency and he gives it the gas and the thing sputters to the side,” Crowden said. “That’s what we’re trying to prevent.”
Money for the motorcycle would come from revenue generated by Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds.
The second motorcycle up for replacement is a totaled 2013 Honda STL1300PA.
According to a March 31 accident report, it sustained extensive front-end damage after a 1994 Nissan Frontier made an improper left turn off Walton Way onto St. Sebastian Way, cutting off a motorcycle deputy.
Because the officer was found not at fault and it was an unscheduled loss, the city’s Risk Management Department has agreed to release recovery money for the replacement, with the commission’s approval.
Though the Honda motorcycles burn through tires quicker, Crowden said, deputies have been open to the idea of phasing out the aging Harley-Davidsons.
“The officers actually like them better,” he said. “It’s a smoother ride for them. The Harley-Davidson has a lot of vibration, and for the older guys that hurts their backs and kidneys.”
The bikes would be supplied by GJ & L, Inc., of Augusta, the only company to place a bid.