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County Council turns down new car for coroner's office

After asking the county coroner’s office to rethink its appeal for a new car last month, members of the Allen County Council voted Thursday to deny the request.

Michael Burris, chief investigator and deputy coroner, wanted to purchase a new, $23,134 vehicle to replace a 2001 Jeep Cherokee with 130,000 miles on it.

The take-home vehicle is used by investigators on their way to and from the office, as well as during off-hours for work-related runs when they are called to the scene of a suicide, homicide or accident, Burris said.

The department has one officer on call at all times and so far this year the coroner’s office has had 14 occurrences where an investigator was asked to respond to two scenes at the same time, Burris said.

Some council members questioned the necessity of the department’s three take-home vehicles and the low mileage of the vehicles. The Jeep acquired 6,700 miles in 2012 and 7,800 in 2013.

Five of the seven council members voted “no,” with councilmen Kevin Howell, R-1st, and Bob Armstrong, R-at-large, voting “yes.”

Councilman Bill Brown, R-at-large, said that while he voted in favor of the purchase last month, he had changed his mind after seeing that the Jeep “did not have issues.”