The Hays County Sheriff’s Office announced today it saved about $148,500 by acquiring a fully-equipped, 46-passenger bus from Travis County rather than buying new.
The bus includes a caged passenger area, video monitoring system, shotgun mounts, door controls, lights, and a public announcement system, said Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Brandy Reuter.
Sheriff Gary Cutler bought the vehicle for about $1,500, though a new bus similarly equipped would have cost taxpayers more than $150,000, Reuter said. The bus was acquired through an inter-agency, mutual aid agreement with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office.
“Through continued cooperation with our surrounding agencies, the citizens of Hays County — as well as the citizens of the cooperating agencies — will have access to resources that we alone could not have afforded,” Cutler said. “For this, I am very great full for the partnership shown to us by Sheriff Hamilton and Travis County.”
The sheriff’s office transports nearly 80 inmates from the jail to the justice center for trial and hearings every week, Reuter said. Before the bus was available, inmate transportation required six deputies, three 12-passenger vans, and multiple trips, Reuter said.
The bus, which has been operational in Hays County for a few weeks, was used during the search for the remains of Laurie Pineda at the beginning of the month, and to deliver water and air conditioning supplies during recent wildfires.
Reuter said other possible uses for the bus include SWAT team support, transport of Jr. Deputy Academy cadets, or evacuations of residents.