The Critical Situation with the Newport News Police Fleet:
Currently, 79 of the police department’s 280 marked vehicles, or 28 percent, are nine or more years old. At the current funding levels that will increase to 103, or about 37 percent of the fleet’s total.
There are short-term savings to be found in delaying new vehicle purchases but the trade-off is higher maintenance cost and more overtime for the city’s 22 mechanics. And, of course, eventually those older and older cars in a city’s fleet still have to be replaced.
Although there’s a certain degree of familiarity, even fondness, for No. 2615, a 15 year old 1999 Crown Victoria, at the garage, the vehicle department’s officials say that if the city doesn’t invest more money in replacement, the percentage of units in the 1,506-vehicle fleet that are off the road and in their shop will start to climb dramatically.
City managers are positioning the problem with their governing officials by acknowledging the that there are short term savings in delaying new vehicle purchases but that the trade-off is higher maintenance costs and more overtime for mechanics who are keeping the old vehicles working until they can be replaced.
It’s a pay me now (or) pay me later proposition in the fleet world,” said Chris Perry, fleet support specialist at the Vehicle and Equipment Services Department.