COVINGTON -- The Newton County Sheriff's Office and Senior Services will both have better transportation options thanks to recent donations.
Sheriff Ezell Brown reported to the Board of Commissioners at its Sept. 6 meeting that the Newton County Board of Education has donated two school buses to the Sheriff's Office. The 1992 International 3800 buses are being retired from the school system's fleet.
Brown said the buses will be used when there is a need for mass transportation, such as in cases where there are mass arrests, or multiple law enforcement officers must be transported to a scene at one time, or to transport prisoners to and from court and to other facilities, such as the prison in Jackson. Partitions will be installed so that female and male prisoners can be transported together, he said.
The buses each hold 45 passengers, which will allow the Sheriff's Office to save money by reducing the number of trips that must be made by 15 passenger vans currently in use, Brown said.
Also, Senior Services Director Josephine Brown reported that Snapping Shoals EMC has donated a 1997 Ford Aerostar van that has been retired from its fleet, to be used for the Meals on Wheels program. The van has approximately 132,870 miles and a value of $1,675.
The vehicle will better be able to navigate roads and driveways of those served by the program than the vehicles currently used by Senior Services, Brown said.
"Our buses cannot get into many driveways or streets where most of our housebound citizens are," she said.
It will also be less costly to operate, as it is a smaller vehicle, she said.
The Board of Commissioners approved both donations.