LCRA, PEC award grant for Liberty Hill patrol vehicle

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Liberty Hill Police Department received a $25,000 grant from LCRA and PEC that went toward the purchase of a new patrol vehicle.  From left are Sgt. Jeff Ringstaff, Officer Robert Fox and Chief Randy Williams with K9 Roady. (Shelly Wilkison Photo)

Liberty Hill Police Department received a $25,000 grant from LCRA and PEC that went toward the purchase of a new patrol vehicle. From left are Sgt. Jeff Ringstaff, Officer Robert Fox and Chief Randy Williams with K9 Roady. (Shelly Wilkison Photo)

The Liberty Hill Police Department received a $25,000 grant last week that will go toward the purchase of a new patrol vehicle.

Through the Community Development Partership Program, a collaborative effort of the Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative, the grant will go toward the purchase of the $39,000 Ford Police Intercepter Utility vehicle. The patrol vehicle is a 2015 Ford Explorer.

Chief Randy Williams said the City had already budgeted to purchase two new vehicles, and the grant provided the funds needed to purchase a third. He said two of the department’s three Dodge Chargers — 2007 and 2009 models — will be sold at auction.

“We were spending a large portion of our budget repairing vehicles,” Williams said, adding high mileage in addition to long periods of idling required at crash and crime scenes contribute to the vehicle’s longevity.

He said the new patrol units will be equipped with improved technology to help keep officers safe, including front and rear cameras able to record simultaneously. An improved audio system will be able to record an officer speaking from inside a house near the parked vehicle.

“We (the partnership with PEC) spend about $1 million per year in grants,” said Lori Berger, a member of the LCRA Board of Directors. “We look for non-profit organizations including law enforcement and fire — entities that serve the community. This area is growing so fast that there was a need (for the additional vehicle).”

In addition to the three new vehicles, the department’s fleet includes a 2009 Charger and two Chevrolet Tahoes — 2007 and 2009.

The department has five full-time officers, one part-time officer and some reserve (unpaid) officers.

Williams commended Officer Robert Fox for taking the initiative to secure the grant. He said Fox worked with PEC’s Celeste Mikeska to prepare the grant application.

Under the rules of the grant program, the City would be eligible to apply for another grant in two years.

One of the new vehicles has already been placed into use. Williams said the two remaining vehicles will be on the street within the coming weeks.

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