When Chief Joe Huff took over the Nampa Police Department in January 2016, he knew the department’s aging fleet needed special attention. But as he dug deeper, he discovered it was a critical situation, according to a Nampa Police news release.
“(In some cases), special tactical units broke down on the way to a call or had to be towed back to the Fleet Division,” the release said.
Fleet Superintendent Doug Adams said his team was spending so much time fixing police vehicles that regular maintenance on other city vehicles was constantly deferred.
The Police Department has 56 patrol cars, 33 administrative/detective vehicles and 7 special use vehicles -- with an additional 44 volunteer, motors, CSO, and SIU vehicles. Two years ago, officials learned 65 vehicles in the Police Fleet were over ten years old; several were over fifteen.
“I suggested we look at a nontraditional method –- leasing vehicles,” Adams said. And the Nampa Mayor and City Council supported the idea.”
“Financially, it makes sense,” Mayor Bob Henry said.
In the just ending Fiscal Year 2017, the city leased fifteen non-patrol vehicles for $52,044.24 annually for three years, instead of buying one vehicle for $30,000. Another thirteen vehicles will be leased in the new fiscal year under the same terms.
At the end of the three-year lease for each vehicle, Nampa says it will probably turn those vehicles in and lease more vehicles to replace them.
“The maintenance problem is virtually gone,” Adams said. “Now Fleet (personnel) simply changes the oil on the nonpatrol units. That gives his team more time to focus on other city vehicles, extending the usefulness of them, which ultimately saves the city money.”
In addition to leasing, the City Council approved the purchase of nine new patrol vehicles in Fiscal Year 2017, at a cost of $38,005.20 -- with another $8,501.35 expense to equip them properly for police work, per vehicle.
Police say they opted for Chevrolet Tahoe patrol vehicles because they are expected to last ten years and provided the best-use options. “They will remain all black because it’s more expensive to paint them the traditional black and white. Another eight will be purchased in FY 2018,” the release explained.
The Police Department also replaced five of the specialized vehicles. The Crisis/Negotiation team now has a travel trailer, a Ford F-250 tow vehicle, a Ford F-550 tactical team transport vehicle, a Ram pickup designated for the bomb unit, and a motorhome designated as a tactical command vehicle.
“These vehicles replaced old, inadequate vehicles that the Department had been attempting to maintain at a high cost,” Huff said. “They will provide reliable service to our officers and citizens for many years to come.”