County commission approves purchases for sheriff’s office

Published 5:15 pm Tuesday, April 9, 2024

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The Covington County Commission Tuesday approved several purchases requested for the sheriff’s office.

Covington County Sheriff Blake Turman requested the purchase of a drone, which he said could be used by his department for multiple purposes.

“We can use it to help us in several ways. It can help with large-area search warrants and it can be deployed into a residence, with a search warrant, to scope out the residence to see if there are any dangers before we go in. It can pinpoint things we really need to pay attention to when going onto a property,” Turman said.

The thermal capability of the drone will also provide the department an additional tool in locating missing persons.

“If we have a lost child, hunter or Alzheimer’s patient, we can deploy the drone which will seek out the heat images and possibly find that person faster,” he said.

The total amount requested and approved for the purchase of the drone and additional batteries was $7,000, which the sheriff said would be paid from the department’s asset forfeiture funds.

The CCSO has one deputy licensed for operating drones and additional training for others will be conducted by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency at no cost to the department.

Turman added that the department will have specific policies in place on when and how the drone will be used and deployed.

Another purchase approved for the sheriff’s office was a used Crown Victoria to be used by the department’ Senior Reserves. Members of the reserve travel across the county to do regular checks on shut-ins.

“This unit is very special. They make sure our elderly shut-ins are visited and making sure the batteries in their location devices are ready. I’m reluctant to put them in a fully-marked vehicle due to the responsibility that comes with those type of vehicles,” Turman said.

The sheriff requested the purchase of used Crown Victoria with just over 100,000 miles at a cost of $1,271 through ADECA. Turman said he personally looked at the vehicle and it is still in good condition and suitable for the reserve. The purchase will be made through the CCSO’s asset forfeiture fund.

Other items discussed by the commission include:

  • the Education Sales Tax Holiday scheduled for July 19-21. The commission previously approved not charging sales tax during the annual tax holiday as an ongoing measure; however, members can vote to cancel it. No action was taken meaning the tax holiday will proceed for certain education-based purchases that weekend.
  • approving a refund to Andalusia Healthcare for sales and use taxes in the amount of over $82,000. It was found that the tax collection vendor used by the county collected taxes on certain items that should not have been charged.
  • approved surplus items for the sheriff’s and engineer’s offices.

The commission meeting concluded following an executive session to discuss legal matters.

The next meeting of the commission is scheduled for Tuesday, April 23, 9 a.m., at the County Administration Building. The public may attend.