It costs quite a bit of money to operate public safety departments, even in a small town like New Llano. So when new equipment is needed and there is no money in the budget to buy it you look for other resources. The New Llano Police and Fire Departments did just that.

The New Llano Police Department had two 2013 Dodge Chargers that were not quite appropriate to be fitted as cruisers and were in need of two other cars.

With no money in the budget to buy them, NLPD Chief Danny Hunt had to come up with something creative. Luckily he didn't have to look too far to find a solution.

The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Department was readying excess surplus to auction off. Chief Hunt placed a call to Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso and asked if they would be willing to donate two of their cars to NLPD.

According to Sheriff Mancuso, he was more than willing to help.

"Departments all across the country have surplus stock they sell at auction all the time. When Chief Hunt asked, I said yes." Mancuso said.

The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Department had two Ford Crown Victoria's that he donated to the NLPD. "They both have high miles on them but they still have a lot of life left in them," Mancuso said.

One is a 2007 with 130,000 miles and the other is a 2010 with 145,000. The total donated value of the two cars is approximately $2,500.

Sheriff Mancuso explained that his department used a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (R.S. 33:9020, et seq.) to donate the cars to NLPD. Under this agreement there are three elements that must be met for a cooperative endeavor agreement to be valid:

The expenditure or transfer must be for a public purpose that comports with the governmental purpose which the entity has legal authority to pursue.

The expenditure or transfer of public funds or property, taken as a whole, does not appear to be gratuitous.

Evidence must demonstrate that the public entity has a demonstrable, objective, and reasonable expectation of receiving a benefit or value at least equivalent to the amount expended or transferred.

Using this same type of agreement NLPD, in turn, donated the two Dodge Chargers to the New Llano Fire Department.

For each of these departments, actually receiving the cars was just half the battle. Once the ownership was transferred they each need to be outfitted and painted.

"Fortunately for the New Llano Fire Department, the Assistant Fire Chief was a former professional paint and body guy," said Fire Chief Kevin Yates.

Assistant Chief Emerick and employees from both departments are painting the cars in the firehouse as time allows.

It is also saving both departments a considerable amount of money by them doing the painting. Chief Yates explained that the cost to paint and design each charger was approximately $1,000.

They used a wrap for the graphics and roughly one bucket of paint.

Police Chief Hunt is saving money his department money while "trying to become more community friendly.” By changing the design of the police cars he is "giving the cars a more general look." he said.

One car is completed with a new design and ready to be put into service. Chief Hunt is hoping to have all five of the departments' cars painted and in action by spring.

It will cost about $250 plus the graphics for each police car.

According to the 2018 Town of New Llano operating budget adopted June 30, 2018 The New Llano Police Department expects $452,723 in expenses and the New Llano Fire Department expects $531,178.

For a town that expects $1,256,903 in revenue, $600,000 (47.7%) of it from fines and fees, there isn't much money left. Using the manpower that is available to them where needed to cut costs is one very valuable solution.