Sheriff gives up official vehicle

Bane, chief deputy reassign SUVs to departmental use

December 17, 2006|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,sun reporter

Sheriff L. Jesse Bane and his chief deputy will relinquish the use of brawny sport utility vehicles driven by their predecessors and turn the vehicles over to the agency for use by deputies.

The sheriff's 2004 Ford Expedition, an eight-seat SUV purchased new for $28,700 by Sheriff R. Thomas Golding, will be available for deputies performing an extradition or traveling to out-of-county training, an agency spokesman said.

The chief deputy's 2004 Chevy Trailblazer, bought used for $15,900 in 2006, will be used at the sheriff's training academy.

Both vehicles were moved last week from their designated parking spots outside the sheriff's headquarters in Bel Air.

"I believe those vehicles can be better utilized by the agency," Bane, a Democrat, said in an interview.

The agency was criticized by a Republican candidate during the campaign for its use of the vehicles, though other police departments in Maryland offer them as a perquisite to top officials. Bane didn't make giving up the use of the vehicles a campaign pledge but moved quickly to find a new use for the Expedition and drives his own car to work.

Bane's move was based on principle more than cost-cutting. When Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. took office four years ago, he sold the state yacht and an airplane in an effort to save money.

"There's no reason why members of the command staff need to be operating [taxpayer-financed] SUVs," Bane said.

juston.fenton@baltsun.com

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