New van to assist jail in long distance transfers

A new inmate transport van will help the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office as it transports inmates to a CDCR reception center near Bakersfield.

During Tuesday’s Lassen County Board of Supervisors meeting, Captain John McGarva presented the agenda item posing the purchase of the new transport vehicle, which the board unanimously approved.

The board approved the Country Administrative Officer to sign the proposal purchasing the vehicle from Braun NW in the amount of $237,641.33.

McGarva explained changes with CDCR reception facilities that warranted the need for the new van.

Traditionally, McGarva explained, the region’s reception center was High Desert State Prison. Then, a few years ago, the local jail was transporting CDCR inmates to Deuel Vocational Institution near Tracy, California, about five hours away. However, with Deuel Vocational Institution slated for closure, the Lassen Jail has to transport prisoners to the new region reception center for Northern California at North Kern State Prison, near Bakersfield – a roughly eight- to 10-hour drive.

This change, McGarva added, brings about the need for bathroom and meal breaks — a difficult task when many facilities are adhering to COVID-19 protocols.

The new vehicle, a Ford F-550 Transport Van, will have a restroom on board, and has the capacity to transport 18 inmates segregated in two-person enclosed areas.

Currently, the sheriff’s office operates two Ford F-350 Econoline two wheel drive transport vans to transport those incarcerated, however, McGarva noted the current vans allow for limited segregation, and with new COVID protocols, makes social distancing difficult.

The driver of the van will require a Class B license, McGarva added, saying the department already has personnel trained and certified to drive the vehicle, and added the sheriff’s office would seek additional staff to train and certify.

The supervisors unanimously authorized the County Administrative Officer to sign the proposal from Braun NW, Inc.