- Associated Press - Sunday, January 31, 2016

HOT SPRINGS, S.D. (AP) - The Oglala Lakota County Sheriff’s Department has doubled its fleet of squad cars thanks to a donation from the Rapid City Police Department.

The Rapid City Council voted unanimously Jan. 18 to give two Chevrolet Impalas that were headed for retirement to Oglala Lakota County. The city also is donating the equipment that came with the cars, including the light bars on their roofs, the partitions and center consoles, and the radar units, the Rapid City Journal (https://bit.ly/1QuytAo ) reported.

Before the donation, the sheriff’s department had only two patrol vehicles, both of which have logged more than 100,000 miles. Oglala Lakota County Sheriff Rex Conroy, the department’s only full-time law officer, drives hundreds of miles a week as part of his job

All of Oglala Lakota County is in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Oglala Sioux Tribe police handle tribal offenders on the reservation, while Conroy handles all nontribal law enforcement matters in the county.

Oglala Lakota County doesn’t have a county seat, and inmates are jailed and prosecuted elsewhere. The trips pummel Conroy’s vehicle fleet, so he said he looks for options to prolong its life.

“We don’t have very many taxpayers in the county,” he said. “Our resources are really limited, and we have to be creative in what we do.”

Conroy wrote a letter to Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris asking for two vehicles, saying Oglala Lakota County “does not have the resources to purchase new vehicles.” Rapid City had two Impalas bought in 2009 with high mileages and high maintenance bills that were pulled out of service in October.

Before Conroy’s proposition, Rapid City Police Lt. Mark Eisenbraun was planning on crushing the two vehicles and selling the scrap metal, which would have netted $122. The cars wouldn’t start, but Rapid City police revived them before giving them to Oglala Lakota County.

Conroy, his volunteer deputy and another volunteer picked up the new vehicles on Jan. 22 in Rapid City. Conroy was grateful, and he was happy with the cars’ condition and the ease of the process.

“It only took a letter,” Conroy said.

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