Ottawa County-Sheriff thanks volunteers for work on truck
Partnership was the word tossed around repeatedly when the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office recently debuted its new Special Response Team equipment truck.
Sheriff Steve Levorchick gave special recognition July 10 to Jay’s Body Shop and the Erie-Ottawa Regional Airport. Workers at the Genoa-area body shop volunteered more than a month and half of manpower, giving new life to the exterior of the Value Van 3500 squad purchased for $3,500 a year and a half ago from the Harris-Elmore EMS.
“Jay’s Body Shop did all the work on it. They made it look beautiful. I just can’t say enough good things about it,” Levorchick said.
The airport, headed by manager Stan Gebhardt, stores the vehicle and provides access 24 hours a day, seven days a week to the 12 members of the unit. The team is made up of sheriff’s deputies as well as officers from other law enforcement agencies.
“We consider the airport our home, our partner with the SRT,” the sheriff added.
The truck, refinished with a flat black matte paint, and emblazoned with a “Sheriff” insignia crafted by Allure Signs & Printing of Marblehead, transports the team that specializes in handling hostage situations, barricaded individuals and other major events, according to SRT Commander Jim Muller, a deputy with the sheriff’s office.
Callouts vary from year to year. There were five last year, he said, mostly involving barricaded people.
Brian Ralston, general manager of Jay’s Body Shop, said shop employees were happy to be involved in the squad’s transformation.
“I’ve got a great group of guys who volunteered to do the work,” Ralston said.
Ottawa County Commissioners provided the cash for the purchase from the general fund.
The team’s old equipment truck, which the sheriff’s office used for 15 years, was given to the department. Levorchick sold that vehicle for $5,400 on the gov.deals website. That money went back into the general fund.
“So the new truck really didn’t cost us anything. We got the best deal for the taxpayers,” the sheriff said.
Gephardt said he would like to continue working with the sheriff’s office long into the future.
And he noted the airport is hosting a number of events – including fly-ins, pancake breakfasts, arts shows and a big band show during summer and fall – where the SRT equipment van will be available for public viewing along with a number of planes and other local artifacts.
“These are what tax dollars are going for. Take time to come down and check them out,” Gephardt said.