During its May 6 meeting, Tomball City Council approved selling six Tomball Police Department vehicles to Montgomery ISD for use in its police department.

In a nutshell

The city will sell MISD six used police cars for $3,000 each, according to the May 6 agenda packet. The vehicles being sold were replaced in the fiscal year 2023-24 budget.

During the meeting, Tomball Police Chief Jeffrey Bert acknowledged that a couple of years ago, the city sold several vehicles for $6,000-$7,500 in an auction.

“But we think that, based on the wear and tear in vehicles and the department to whom the vehicles would be going, it is the best and greatest use of our very used but still very reliable city vehicles,” Bert said.

MISD leaders “are and have been committed” to students’ and staff safety and security, MISD Superintendent Mark Ruffin said in a May 9 email.

“I can't reiterate enough how appreciative MISD is to the city of Tomball for their partnership that allows us to improve our police fleet in a fiscally responsible manner,” Ruffin said.

Bert said he spoke about the $3,000 price with City Manager David Esquivel.

“Rather than what Jeff Bert thinks is fair, I tried to think what’s the best and greatest use of city vehicles that are still good,” Bert said.

Mileage on the six vehicles ranges from 90,000 to 115,700, according to the agenda packet.

Diving in deeper

MISD Police Chief Rickey Doerre—who spent 19 years with the Tomball Police Department—told City Council he believes the district has “put its money in other avenues.”

“I think the fleet has been kind of an oversight to the point where a majority of my fleet, or a good portion of the fleet, cosmetically is not what I want to represent, how I want to represent our district, but even more so than that, mechanically,” Doerre said.

Doerre said most of his vehicles were purchased when MISD’s police department was established in 2009.

“[Tomball] was always really good to [the] police department, fire and their other entities,” Doerre said. “We had a cycle; we had a budget; our equipment was top-notch. Every six years, every three years, whatever it might be. But you knew at some point in time, you were going to replace your used equipment. For whatever reason, Montgomery ISD hasn’t chosen that same path. So your vehicles would greatly benefit [and] replace a large portion of my fleet.”

Ruffin said MISD does have police vehicles that need to be replaced, and the district purchased three new police vehicles in June. MISD has also invested in the district’s police department by surpassing the Texas Education Agency’s requirement to staff one armed officer at the district’s high schools, he added.

“When allocating funds, they have been placed in campus police officers instead of the vehicles they drive,” Ruffin said.

MISD’s fiscal year 2023-24 budget included more than $1.4 million for safety and security, MISD Chief Financial Officer Ben Davidson said in a May 9 email. The FY 2024-25 budget is still being developed.

What they’re saying

  • “I just think that it’s good stewardship and the right thing to do to help anyone that we can possibly help as much as we can help them,” Position 4 council member Derek Townsend said.
  • “Whatever you do for me is going to benefit me,” Doerre said.
  • “I think that we should show that we are good stewards of the city’s taxpayers’ money and get something for [the vehicles] instead of just giving it away,” Position 2 council member Mark Stoll said. “But yet, I think we still need to be good stewards to other government entities around us. ... I think the $3,000 is a fair price.”
  • “School district police departments naturally do not log as many miles as city or county police officers,” Ruffin said. “This means we can get significantly more life out of equipment than may be acceptable through other entities.”