By Mike Kruzman /

Livingston County Sheriff’s deputies may soon be assigned their own vehicle which is projected to help reduce costs while increasing visibility.

Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy was before the county Public Safety and Infrastructure and Development Committee, Tuesday, to present the Deputy Assigned Vehicle Program.

The program would assign each deputy their own vehicle, whereas currently 2 deputies are partnered up to each patrol car. Murphy believes this will increase the longevity of each vehicle while also decreasing maintenance costs, as people tend to care of their own stuff a little better. He projected getting up to 6 years out of patrols cars this way, as opposed to the 3 they average now.

Undersheriff Jeff Warder said programs like this have seen success elsewhere. He said it is popular in the southwest U.S., is done by several Sheriff’s offices in Michigan, and pointed out that the Michigan State Police went to this program about 10 years ago.

Deputies would need to live inside the County to be assigned a vehicle to take home, though there could be options for those who live elsewhere, like potentially parking their vehicle at a neighboring police station.

A patrol car parked at a deputy’s home could have the added benefit of reducing crime in the area, much like how patrol cars on the road reduce speeding. It would also allow deputies to begin their shift from home and would provide greater visibility, particularly during shift change times when there are traditionally less officers on the street.

The Sheriff’s Office is also dealing with an insufficient amount of space for their operations according to a 2019 needs-study, and this program would reduce employee contact, especially during COVID.

Murphy said they will be able to purchase the additional vehicles required for the program within their own budget. Doing it this way means it will take a few years to build their fleet up to where it needs to be, but it also won’t cost the county anything extra.

The committee was in support of the program, with Chairman Jay Gross saying he believes this will be advantageous to the county. Commissioner Carol Sue Reader agreed that this has been successful with the MSP and would give greater coverage to the community. Commissioner Jay Drick also said he believes in this and thinks it is a good idea.

It will now go to the full board of commissioners for final approval at a future meeting.