POLICE Magazine

MAR 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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tency of installation, and quality control," he explains. WORKING WITH A PARTNER Collier County Sheriff's Office's current up- fitter formerly specialized in radios. Williams saw the need for a local upfitter—the one the Sheriff's Office was using was two counties away—and gave the new vendor a chance. He researched the company, looked at the facility, spoke to those responsible for upfitting, start- ed them with simpler work in small quantities, and made sure he was fully comfortable before handing over front-line patrol cars and, eventually, the entire fleet. In the past three years, they've worked out a system for de- liveries. "We work together to decide when's a good time to order, get them upfitted, and issued in the same fiscal year. Communicat- ing with our upfitter is key to timing our upfit process in order to reduce unnecessary downtime," Williams says. For example, if the upfitter is fully scheduled with other work in October and November, Williams will schedule deliv- eries for December. is close communication allows the upfitter time to pur- chase parts and also allows Williams to warn the vendor if there are delays, such as instances when he doesn't get vehicle funding until mid-year. In this case, the vendor would have to prepare to upfit 100 vehicles in six months. In return, Williams will be flexible as well—he went with a new lightbar brand because the new vendor wasn't selling the same product. is was a change he was willing to make for better customer support of a vendor in the area. "Folks have to decide what's most critical for them—if ser- vice is more important than the brand of lights. Is that vendor U PF I T T I NG & F L E E T M A N AG E M E N T | SP E C I A L R E P O RT | 5 PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY OF ORANGE PHOTO COURTESY OF FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL The City of Orange, CA communicates with its upfitting vendor about deliveries to make sure the company has all the parts available when new police cars arrive. Due to the increasing amount of technology in vehicles, the Flor- ida Highway Patrol built a central installation facility where its technicians work on upfitting new police cars in one location. 355 vehicle installations. With a land area of nearly 54,000 miles, it's more efficient for the Florida Highway Patrol to leave maintenance and repair to the 13 troops around the state. "Yet when you talk about upfitting, we found that with a centralized installation facility, we can be more efficient than other shops. Since we specialize in only performing emergency equipment installation, we can do it more efficiently than most other fleet shops [that] include maintenance and repair, "says John Kreiensieck, fleet and property operations manager, Flor- ida Highway Patrol. "We can service the complete state's fleet, where it'd be difficult or impossible for a vendor to accomplish the same task while complying with state statute requirements." e FHP has been doing its own upfitting for a long time, but it wasn't until about 15 years ago that it opened the central installation facility. Kreiensieck attributes the need for such a facility to the increased use of technology, beginning with the widespread use of laptop computers in patrol cars. As more technology was needed for law enforcement vehicles, it became too difficult for radio technicians at each troop to handle in- stalls. ey needed a place to store parts and equipment, lead- ing to the centralized facility. One of the biggest reasons in-house upfitting works for FHP is volume—finding a single vendor that could house and com- plete upfits for 350 vehicles per year as efficiently as FHP does would be difficult. Additionally, state statute requires that vehi- cles be inspected when dropped off, and it would be a challenge to send fleet personnel all over the state to inspect vehicles at upfitting facilities upon delivery. Kreiensieck also believes centralized, in-house upfitting is just more efficient. "It's for uniformity of installation, consis-

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