Riverside County Sheriff's Department cruiser. File photo: Toni McAllister
Riverside County Sheriff's Department cruiser. MyNewsLA.com file photo: Toni McAllister

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday authorized Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco to proceed with the planned acquisition of 228 vehicles at a cost of $9.12 million.

In a 5-0 vote, the board signed off on Bianco’s proposal to procure the vehicles via financing through Banc of America Public Capital Corp.

“The vehicles will be used to conduct department business and provide frontline deputies the ability to patrol assigned areas to enforce laws and ordinances, regulate traffic, prevent crimes and respond to critical incidents,” according to a sheriff’s statement posted to the board’s agenda.

It is the third fleet procurement by the sheriff in the last 15 months. The previous one, authorized in August, involved 36 vehicles, and another in March 2021 was for nearly 100 autos.

The new round of purchases is for a “special purpose bomb truck,” utility SUVs, patrol SUVs, full-size SUVs, heavy trucks, half-ton pickups, three-quarter-ton pickups and hybrid sedans.

The department has been handling its own fleet acquisitions for the last year, detached from the county Department of Purchasing & Fleet Services, under a board-approved policy change that went forward at the request of Bianco, who said the process could be managed more efficiently internally.

Most of the vehicles will directly replace ones that are aging out of the sheriff’s fleet, or have been lost due to accidents or mechanical failures, sheriff’s officials said.

They pointed out that acquisition times will vary from eight to 12 months because of ongoing supply chain disruptions.

The vendors supplying the vehicles are in California and Washington.

Bianco told the board last year that the vehicle replacement rate was close to 300 per year, and the current usable fleet was roughly 1,800. He said 2,000 is the target figure.

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