Among other items, Orange County Commissioners approved the acceptance of the donation of a motorcycle from the U.S. Military to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office at a meeting Monday, July 29.
According to Chief Deputy Clint Hodgkinson, the 2000 Kawasaki KL650 motorcycle was donated years earlier but never used by OCSO.
“It was on old Marine Corps bike,” Hodgkinson said, “to be reused by law enforcement. What happened was, we got this motorcycle back in 2009, and we never did present to the court. We frankly just never used it. It’s been sitting back there…but the motorcycle is a dual-purpose bike. When we got it from the military, it actually only had 57 miles on it. It was basically still brand new.”
Hodgkinson said the motorcycle could be quite useful to the sheriff’s office, especially considering the area they work.
“It is a dual-purpose bike, which basically means it is a street-legal dirt bike,” Hodgkinson explained. “We have our four-wheelers. That is something Sheriff Merritt has done since he has been in office is push for us to have our own equipment and anything we would need. As you know, there are places in Orange County that can’t be accessed by foot very easily, and can’t be accessed even by four-wheelers very easily. Sometimes you need a horse, and that is something we may have to work on eventually.”
At the mention of the horse, the court tittered, but certain situations necessitate certain types of transportation. In theory, Hodgkinson said, the motorcycle could be used instead of a horse in many instances requiring maneuverability and carrying capacity.
“It’s one of those things that when you need it, you’ve got it,” Hodgkinson reiterated. “We’ve got equipment that we may not use every single day, but that one time you need it, you are going to wish you had it. That is kind of the position I was in a lot of times as a patrol sergeant. There were a lot of times people would call us and you don’t want to tell somebody that has got a kid possibly injured out on a four-wheeler in the middle of nowhere that you can’t get to them. That’s kind of my philosophy on it. I don’t want to be in that situation again. So, that is why (the sheriff) pushed for all this equipment for us to have it for everything, waterways or land or whatever.”
Sheriff Keith Merritt spoke up in favor of accepting the unexpected donation. He said he believes there could be a use for it in the future, and that Chief Deputy Hodgkinson worked with some others to get the motorcycle ready for action.
“The only time we are going to utilize this is on an emergency situation,” Merritt asserted.
Hodgkinson estimated the cost would be approximately $300 to make the motorcycle ready for use.
“I’d like to say one thing,” Pct. 1 Commissioner David Dubose said regarding the measure. “I don’t think Sheriff Merritt would ask for something if he didn’t think that possibly down the road he could need it.”
Although Judge Carl Thibodeaux and Pct. 3 Commissioner John Banken expressed some concern regarding the maintenance and insurance costs associated with the acceptance of the motorcycle donation, the measure passed unanimously.
In other news, Orange County Purchasing Agent Connie Cassidy presented commissioners with a report on the recent Rene Bates Online Auction in which county surplus items were auctioned. Cassidy reported the county “did very well,” receiving bids totaling more than $104,000 for auctioned items.