Sheriff-Elect Unable To Change Commissioners’ Minds On Vehicle Colors

Sheriff-Elect Unable To Change Commissioners’ Minds On Vehicle Colors
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SNOW HILL – The Worcester County Commissioners took no action on a request to reevaluate color choices for new vehicles for the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office.

In spite of a request from Sheriff-Elect Matt Crisafulli, the commissioners this week did not reconsider a previous decision to purchase only standard blue vehicles for the sheriff’s office.

Earlier this month, the commissioners approved a vehicle bid package that included, among various other vehicles, two unmarked SUVs for the sheriff’s office. The commissioners approved the bid package after stipulating that staff shouldn’t seek prices on the red and black SUVs requested but rather standard “sheriff blue” vehicles.

On Tuesday, Crisafulli came before the commissioners to ask them to reconsider providing the office with the requested red and black SUVs. He expressed disappointment that no one from the sheriff’s office was present at the previous meeting to answer questions when the commissioners reviewed the bid package. He said he appreciated the commissioners’ willingness to hear his request this week.

“I look forward to working with each and every one of you in the near future for the betterment of Worcester County,” he said. “I wholeheartedly believe that if we work together, communicate and cooperate with each other we could do some truly great things here in Worcester County that will not only benefit the sheriff’s office, Worcester County government but also each and every one of our county residents.”

Crisafulli explained that command staff vehicles like those requested typically differed in color than traditional market fleet vehicles. He added that the vehicles would eventually be reassigned to plainclothes personnel. If all of those officers are in unmarked blue vehicles, Crisafulli said they’d be noticeable to suspects.

“To the average person it would appear this would be the same vehicle following a suspect or surveilling a particular location,” he said. “Sheriff blue vehicles will become known to the criminal element here in Worcester County and it will lessen the effect of the usefulness of our unmarked vehicles and our personnel utilizing these vehicles.”

Crisafulli added that as sheriff he wanted to be highly visible and would personally like a vehicle that was distinct and recognizable.

Commissioner Bud Church said he’d spoken to a friend who was a retired law enforcement officer who’d told him vehicles that stood out didn’t make good surveillance vehicles.

Crisafulli said he had a point but that the red and black SUVs would be used by command staff initially, likely for several years, before they were transitioned to other personnel for things like surveillance.

The commissioners made no motion to amend their previous instructions for staff to seek blue vehicles. Commissioner Joe Mitrecic, who first brought up the issue of color selection, said after the meeting he hadn’t been swayed by Crisafulli’s comments.

“They’re sheriff’s vehicles. They should be sheriff blue,” he said. “We don’t need different colors.”

He added that he believed the commissioners should be taking a close look at requests from all county departments.

“Everybody’s requests need to be scrutinized,” he said.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.