POLICE Magazine Supplements

Special Report 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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A ssembly lines helped automakers in the early days of the industry in- crease production speed and cre- ate an efficient process to achieve stan- dardization. Early cars such as Ford's Model T and Oldsmobile's Curved Dash rolled out of factories with the same parts attached in the same places. e California Highway Patrol (CHP) has applied this process to its vehicle upfitting in its Fleet Operations facility in West Sacramento—the nerve center for California's largest law en- forcement fleet. With approximately 1,000 vehicles per year that need radi- os, gun mounts, lightbars, and other law enforcement equipment, the agency needs to stay organized. e assembly line also gives the agen- cy certainty that officer safety will re- main a top priority during the set-up of the vehicles. Auxiliary equipment will function the same way for any officer who gets behind any wheel. e agency has been using this process for decades. While efficiency remains a potent benefit, the process is in place to pro- tect the agency's sworn personnel, said Capt. Steve Mills, who has served as the commander of fleet operations since 2013. "Every vehicle has to be standard," Mills said. "Every switch needs to be in the same place." Nearly four years ago, the agency began fine-tuning the assembly line to accommodate its large order of Dodge Charger Pursuit sedans, which would mark a shi from the agency's heavy use of mid-size SUVs. Fiat Chrysler Au- tomobiles (FCA) won a bid in June of 2015 to supply the Dodge Chargers. e agency had ordered 580 Charger Pur- suit sedans in 2016 on a two-year con- tract. e agency had been using Ford's Police Interceptor Utility vehicles since shiing to that vehicle in 2012. Part of the reason for the change came down to pricing, as the Chargers cost $23,695 per unit versus $27,465 for the Ford SUVs, Mills said. However, FCA was also able to increase the pay- load rating for the Charger's rear axle to accommodate a bulky tray of radios and other communications equipment that weighs about 246 lbs. e rear-wheel drive, V-6-powered sedan could carry up to 1,359 lbs. aer FCA beefed up the rear end assembly with factory modifications. With new batches of vehicles arriv- ing in bulk shipments, the agency's as- sembly line would soon be humming. e CHP can equip about 100 cars a month to meet the demand for new pa- trol units by using the line. e assembly line can crank out a car in 39 hours if needed with 22 workers and 11 stations, which include numer- ous stops for wiring (3 miles worth for each vehicle), radios, emergency light- ing, brackets and mounts, and gun racks. e shop fabricates initial quantities 10 | 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 PHOTOS: PAUL CLINTON THE LINE CAN CRANK OUT A CAR IN 39 HOURS, INCLUDING STOPS FOR WIRING, RADIOS, LIGHTING, BRACKETS AND MOUNTS, AND GUN RACKS. CHP's Vehicle Assembly Line The California Highway Patrol handles its own upfitting and maintenance in a West Sacramento facility. Paul Clinton

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