Point Duel is located in the state of Policia and has a population of approximately 50,000. The crime rate is 359.9 where the U.S. average is 319.1, with Point Duel’s highest reported crime being theft at a little over 2,408 incidents per 100,000 people. The Point Duel Police Department (PDPD) employs 43 personnel with 40 of them full-time law enforcement officers that average out to 1.74 officers per 1,000 residents. Point Duel’s elevation is 5,500 with an annual snowfall of approximately 35 inches. Just as winter brings with it a great deal of snow, spring presents with an abundance of rain when at those times of year navigating the roads without four-wheel drive is almost impossible. Point Duel is grounded in community policing policies and to that end; its residents are supportive of the department’s tactics and appreciate the value and importance of up-to-date equipment and technology. Fortunately, no tax increase is being sought in order to fund the acquisition.
Furthermore, PDPD prides itself on being a contemporary, state-of-the-art agency. To that end, PDPD is proposing the acquisition of five new squad cars to (1) replace five of its vehicles, which vehicles have surpassed their normal lifespan and are no longer useful in the fleet, and (2) maintain current technology and resources imperative to the successful enforcement of the law.
It has been over three years since PDPD has purchased any additional squad cars and longer than that since it has retired any of the squad cars currently in use. PDPD will use the money it has in the law enforcement fleet replacement fund for the vehicles and any supplemental items necessary for police use, including, but not limited to, cages, radios, and other equipment. PDPD is hoping that the squad cars will be on the road by the end of June this year.
It is PDPD’s goal to provide and maintain a fleet of squad cars that meet the needs of the town and the police department, are safe to operate and offer a good return value upon resale. To that end and because PDPD has not procured any replacement or additional vehicles in the past three years, PDPD proposes to purchase five Ford Interceptors at the price of $23,477 apiece in June 2014.
PDPD currently has over 60 squad cars in its fleet – all Crown Victorias. However, in 2011, Ford discontinued the Crown Vic so after some vehicle review and comparison chose the Interceptor with a price tag of a little over $23,000 per car. The total cost of the five squad cars including the accessories required is about $140,000.
As it may seem that fleet vehicles have a relatively short life as useful, law enforcement resources, in 2014, the federal government set its minimum standards at 60,000 miles or, at least, three years (Government Fleet, 2012). The irony is that the government’s mandate is as the result of untimely fleet purchases in the reverse of most state or municipal law enforcement agencies in that their fleet vehicles are being replaced too soon (Government Fleet, 2012). Either way, it is important to have the maximum (or minimum) guidelines in terms of economics, efficiency, and safety.
To that end, several factors were considered as part of the determination process on the choice of vehicle added to the existing fleet of squad cars, which currently consists of Ford Crown Victorias, solely, and commonly referred to as the “Police Interceptor” which, as mentioned above, is a vehicle Ford no longer produces (Lauria, 2010). Ford replaced the Crown Vic with the Interceptor, which Ford claims is more efficient on fuel, and costs less to own (Associated Press, 2009). Nevertheless, PDPD researched several models with the final three consisting of the Dodge Charger, Chevrolet’s Caprice and, of course, the Interceptor.
Several areas were considered in determining the best vehicle replacement: Fuel costs, maintenance costs, operation costs, technological standing, operability, and best overall fit. The purchase prices of the three finalists were within $500 more or less and not a factor. In addition, each of the vehicles was test-driven by one of our mechanic specialists as well as an officer. The mechanic and the officer were each provided with a Vehicle Evaluation Checklist consisting of approximately 20 items ranging from rear window visibility, driver’s seat proportions, drivability which includes response time and all-wheel drive versus front-wheel drive. The highest rate of speed was a category but given much less weight since high-speed chases were mostly on television and resulted in lawsuits in real life. Slow cruises through neighborhoods and lots of idling time were the more usual courses of action thus giving more weight to fuel economy (Analyst, 2013).
As a side note, it is worth mentioning that PDPD also considered replacing the five aged-out squad cars with motorcycles with the mindset that the initial costs were less, maintenance lower and the motorcycles more versatile. However, any motorcycle fleet would be inoperable for the duration of the winter due to weather limitations; therefore, the money saved at the time of purchase and during the life of the motorcycle, disappeared with the downtime. Another caveat relating to the vehicle comparison task is the absence of any trade-in credit for the five vehicles being replaced. Unfortunately, the additional three years PDPD utilized the squad cars depreciated them to being valued at almost zero. Thus, PDPD will retain the vehicles for use in training and/or other community demonstrations, such as parades, school presentations, etc. The value derived from the vehicles’ use in Point Duel far exceeds the small monetary value, which may be credited by the dealer.
In any event, the following table is a comparison between the Caprice, Charger, and Interceptor in terms of the purchase price and fuel cost for 2014:
(Table omitted for preview. Available via download)
Clearly, the Ford Interceptor is more economical than the other two vehicles. Moreover, the results from the two test drives per car resulted in the Ford Interceptor being favored by both the mechanic and the officer drivers. Finally, in terms of safety and functionality, the Interceptor has the capacity to transport two individuals if necessary, can be equipped with two digital communication devices – one mobile and permanent -- and has a full-time all-wheel drive which bodes well for the different seasons thus driving conditions in Point Duel.
Finally, even though the life expectancy of fleet vehicles, repair issues, maintenance concerns and/or replacement due to extraordinary circumstances is common knowledge and usually not something that has to be debated to much extent, it may behoove PDPD to put some sort of formal police car replacement plan (Roper, 2014). That way, the fleet budget is balanced and included with the other public safety agency items rather than the fund being a catchall for the leftovers (monetarily speaking) in the hopes there may be enough to go around the fleet. The plan would help to alleviate outdated equipment and assist in the planning phase of fleet acquisition and maintenance.
Point Duel and PDPD have forgone replacing five of its 50+ squad cars for three years past their anticipated life spans. The additional maintenance performed and mileage incurred has rendered the five vehicles almost worthless monetarily. The conditions in the town including demographics, geography, police style, crime prevention, and crime rate demand modern technology at every facet of law enforcement, the fleet being no exception. Once the five retired police cars are retired and replaced, the fleet will be current as far as its vehicles are concerned, for the next two years, when, at that time, the issue of replacement, repair or some other way to handle dated equipment will arise.Along with the request for the acquisition of fleet vehicles is a proposal to create a police car replacement plan.
Analyst, M. (2013). Review of fleet management practices. Report to the major and city council, City of Independence, Public Works, City of Independence.
Associated Press. (2009, November 13). Ford: new police cruiser to replace Crown Vic. Associated Press, p. 1.
Government Fleet. (2012, May 12). Government Fleet. Retrieved from Government Fleet: http://www.government-fleet.com/news/story/2012/05/u-s-office-of-management-budget-sets-minimum-federal-fleet-replacement-standard.aspx
Lauria, P. (2010, June 15). The recession need not cripple fleet replacement programs. Retrieved from Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine: http://www.policemag.com/channel/vehicles/articles/2010/06/the-recession-need-not-cripple-fleet-replacement-programs.aspx
Roper, R. (2014, May 14). Colo. police struggle to replace vehicles, some over a decade old. PoliceOne.com, p. 1.