The Guilford County Sheriff’s Department has just gotten approval from the Guilford County Board of Commissioners to purchase four new vehicles – but these aren’t patrol cars.
Two are “All-Terrain Vehicles,” better known as ATV’s, and the other two are somewhat similar: Utility Terrain Vehicles, or UTV’s.
The Sheriff’s Department recently obtained four quotes from dealers and the expected price for all of the vehicles is just under $50,000. The Board of Commissioners approved the purchase at the board’s Thursday, Jan. 16 meeting.
According to information the Sheriff’s Department provided to the commissioners, the all-terrain vehicles the department currently has in use are in poor condition and are in constant need of repair.
According to Guilford County Sheriff’s Department Captain W.D. Loftis, the control of these vehicles falls under the department’s Special Operations Division and they come in very handy when it comes to certain projects and investigations.
Loftis wrote in an email that the ability to go off road is vital in situations “in which there is hard to get to terrain or a need to rapidly.”
He wrote that the vehicles are commonly used in missing persons and missing children investigations – usually in conjunction with the county fire departments’ ATV Search and Rescue teams.
Loftis also wrote that they are used in “narcotics investigations, specifically when we attempt any marijuana interdiction” since having the vehicles “enables us to get to hard to otherwise reach locations to seize and transport plants.”
The captain added that the special vehicles are also used to transport crime scene investigators to hard to reach crime scenes as well as to transport evidence.
In addition, he stated, they’re used “for outer perimeter security for hard to get to locations” when dignitaries visit the county.
Loftis wrote: “I would say a majority of use is for missing persons and missing children (Alzheimer or Dementia patients and children that are believed to be on foot and in need of locating quickly either due to any known medical conditions, cognitive impairments or due to the elements of the weather.)”
ATV’s, on which a single rider – usually – sits saddle style, are different than UTV’s that seat between two and four people sitting in bucket seats. Also, ATVs are steered using a handlebar, while UTVs have a steering wheel.