POLICE Magazine

MAR 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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Should a f leet upfit its new police cars in- house or send the job elsewhere? It depends on staffing, fleet size, and how the fleet oper- ates, as well as external factors such as regu- lations and vendor availability. OUTSOURCE UPFITTING Sean Williams, fleet and procurement manag- er for Collier County Sheriff's Office in Flori- da, believes whether an agency keeps or sends out this work depends on the structure of the organization and the complexity of the vehicle. For the Sheriff's Office, outsourcing this work has proven to be the best solution. "I don't have the staffing levels that allow me to manage it in-house. I do some updating in- house…but new upfitting for me is 100% out- sourced just because of the time it takes to do it and the size of my staff," he explains. Williams, who is president of the Florida Association of Governmental Fleet Administrators (FLAGFA), manages a fleet of 1,060 vehicles, about 450 of which are patrol cars. Up to 90% of vehicles purchased require some form of upfitting, and he has six technician positions at the maintenance facility. He purchased about 100 new vehicles in 2016, and the complexity of many of the upfits and his small staff size means it's more efficient to send the work out. "How complex are my vehicles? What does a patrol or the agency's requirements call for that goes into the vehicle? Do they have video? Do they have radars, printers, gun locks, or gun boxes? If they have all that, sometimes it's so time-con- suming that it's hard for a fleet management operation to do that internally," he says. He instead set out to find the best vendor for the job, and about five years ago he began using a local vendor in the radio business that wanted to expand to upfitting. is outsourced work also allows in-house technicians to focus on aggressive preventive maintenance to keep vehicles on the road. For Keith Marian, fleet manager at the City of Orange, CA, moving to outsourced police fleet upfitting eight years ago was a smart decision. Marian oversees a diverse fleet of 418 vehi- cles—48 of which are black-and-white patrol units and about 20 more police vehicles that require specialized equipment. He purchases between 12 and 15 patrol vehicles each year. Previously, the fleet dedicated one technician who worked on building out police vehicles about 75% of the time. At the time, workload increased, and it was taking him longer to com- plete the job; the Police Department didn't want to wait. Rath- er than invest in additional resources to speed up the process, Marian decided to send it out to a local vendor with a detailed build specification. Marian said it's a faster method, and the cost is about the same as having fleet staff do the work. KEEP POLICE CAR UPFITTING IN HOUSE e Florida Highway Patrol, in contrast, chooses to upfit its fleet of 2,345 vehicles in-house, even though it doesn't do its own maintenance and repairs. It has a central installation fa- cility near Jacksonville that employs 12 technicians and three production support personnel. In 2016, the facility completed 4 | SP E C I A L R E P O RT | U PF I T T I NG & F L E E T M A N AG E M E N T ➔ PHOTO COURTESY OF FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL The Florida Highway Patrol's central installation facility can prep and deliver about 12 new police cars a week. UPFITTING: In-House or Outsource? Whether a public agency upfits its new law enforcement vehicles in-house or sends them out depends on resources, regulations, and more. Thi Dao

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