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Bryce Shumate has a knack for collecting free odds and ends.
His pick-up truck was donated by Fort Knox Federal Credit Union and the tires came from Tire Pros, in the agreement he’d place the company’s logos on the side of his vehicle like a NASCAR racer.
He’s received countless items through various donations, grants and money available through the 2009 stimulus package.
But recently, he’s taken scrounging to the next level.
Every Saturday at 3:17 a.m. exactly, Shumate logs onto a website called LESO and bids on free surplus military equipment he collects on behalf of Radcliff’s law enforcement.
He signs up at that hour after learning by trial and error when the site updates with new items. Among considerations to determine which agency receives its request is a time stamp.
The spokesman for the Racliff Police Department and city government has acquired close to $200,000 worth of free equipment through the site — all money that otherwise would be taken out of the city’s budget.
“I’m just really lucky. My motto is, ‘You can’t get it if you don’t ask,’” Shumate said. “To me, it’s fun going out to look for these things.”
LESO, which stands for Law Enforcement Support Office, is open only to law enforcement agencies and mimics the workings of online bidding systems such as eBay.
“You’re competing against law enforcement agencies all across the country,” Shumate said. “It’s completely free. You just have to go get it.”
And get it he did — all the way to Colorado and Montana in a 72-hour drive with Radcliff Police Chief Jeff Cross and Director of Building and Specials Projects Dale Painter to pick up a few ATVs.
“We were able to bring back over $35,000 that didn’t cost the city anything,” he said.
And that’s what is so great about this system: the ability to get all of these items for free, Shumate said.
“It’s been really cool because nothing’s really been a tax-payer’s burden.”
Among the “toys” Shumate has been able to bring to Radcliff are two Honda four-wheelers, two Kawasaki mules, a John Deere Gator four-wheeler with a bed, a Cushman ATV, flood lights and tools.
All of the four-wheelers will be repainted with the Radcliff police logo and are used to patrol festivals or for off-road searches.
“It’s an easy way for us to get around,” he said.
Mayor J.J. Duvall has been appreciative of Shumate’s ability to spin his hobby into something that benefits the city.
“With the city’s budget and trying to save money and looking at things at offsetting costs, this was one of those avenues that Bryce has been able to find,” Duvall said. “I think it’s awesome. Sometimes I have to pull the reins back on Bryce a bit and say, you know, ‘Bryce, calm down.’
“Being able to use that program and having Bryce being able to get those items has really made it easy on us.”
Elizabeth Beilman can be reached at (270) 505-1740 or email@example.com.