garco sheriff's office

The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office pictured in April. As a result of global supply chain shortages, the Garfield Board of County Commissioners directed staff to purchase 10 new vehicles for the GCSO now, in hopes of their arrival in a timely fashion.

Generally, a new car buyer can drive a recently purchased vehicle home, right off the dealership’s lot.

Garfield County, though, will have to wait — and, possibly, for quite some time before its new cars arrive.

“It wasn’t until recently … that we got wind of how severe the shortage of vehicles was globally,” said Fred Jarman, Garfield County deputy county manager, in an interview Monday. “We felt obligated to let our [Garfield Board of County Commissioners] know how severe it was just as a business practice.”

As part of its consent agenda Monday, the BOCC directed staff to purchase 10 new vehicles for the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office and an additional 12 for the county's own general motor pool fleet.

However, when exactly those vehicles will roll into town remains anybody’s guess.

“We have been budgeting and planning for those purchases for a while, but this recently came to light because of the severe microchip shortage — globally,” Jarman said. “We were alerted by the state that, for different agencies on the government side, if you’re interested in doing vehicle purchases then you need to act as quickly as you can to get into what’s probably going to be a very long line.”

The BOCC unanimously approved the purchase of six 2022 Dodge Durango Pursuit vehicles and four 2022 Dodge Ram vehicles for the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office for an amount “not to exceed $384,044.”

Citing public safety and the need for new law enforcement vehicles promptly, Jarman said the county did not follow traditional advertising and competitive-bidding processes in order to expedite the purchase of the sheriff’s vehicles and their subsequent arrival. 

The contract for the new law enforcement vehicles was awarded to Mike Shaw Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. 

“We’ve got plant shutdowns not only in the United States, but globally,” Jarman said. 

Although the county did not utilize a competitive-bidding process when purchasing the new law enforcement vehicles, it did solicit a request for quotes from local vendors when buying the remaining 12 vehicles for its general motor pool fleet. 

Those 12 vehicles include: 10 Ford Explorers, an F-350 and a Ram Promaster according to a BOCC memo. 

The contract for the 10 Ford Explorers and one F-350 was awarded to Glenwood Springs Ford, Inc. for an amount not to exceed $328,321. The contract for the Ram Promaster was given to Berthod Motors, Inc. for an amount not to exceed $45,999. 

By ordering the vehicles now, as opposed to next month, the county will save up to $22,000, according to a BOCC memo. 

Supply chain shortages have made purchasing everything from basic goods at the grocery store to vehicles at a car dealership more difficult, and sometimes expensive, for private businesses and government agencies like Garfield County. 

“There’s no guarantee … that we even see these vehicles in 2022. Let me make that clear,” Jarman said. “It may not even be until 2023 — who knows?”

Matthew Bennett is a reporter for the Aspen Daily News. He can be reached at: matthew@aspendailynews.com