Date: July 29, 2021
Author: Marnie Munoz
Location: Bastrop, TX
"The Bastrop City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a lease and maintenance program for aging Bastrop police cars which are causing issues for officers.
Many of the vehicles in the police fleet are older than an average police car would be used, Assistant Police Chief Vicky Steffanic told the council on July 13, when the council took its first of two votes to approve the program.
“Our current fleet is an aging fleet,” she said. “The volume of vehicle repairs has and is affecting the current manpower within our department.”
Steffanic said four vehicles in the police fleet were made in or before 2010, far outlasting the average four- to five-year lifespan of a typical patrol car.
The council’s final vote Tuesday to approve the lease and maintenance program sets the wheels in motion to replace seven police cars with rented vehicles from Enterprise FM Trust / Enterprise Fleet Management. Ultimately, the Police Department would lease all its fleet vehicles.
The department decided to lease instead of purchasing new police cars after research revealed that the annual cost of leasing and purchasing would be relatively the same. Leasing the vehicles would also dependably provide the department with “consistent up-to-date vehicles that are in reliable, good operating condition,” according to the council’s July 13 agenda.
Of the 13 patrol vehicles currently in the police fleet, two are beyond repair and two are in the repair shop, Steffanic said.
The department has made about 99 repair trips since Oct. 1, 2020, costing patrol officers 395 manpower hours in dropping off, picking up and coordinating repairs. In the past year alone, the department spent $62,505 on maintenance costs, Steffanic said.
In addition to age, many of the vehicles require additional maintenance because of overuse, she said. On normal shifts, 14 officers will often split seven or nine patrol cars that are used 24/7. And those vehicles aren’t always reliable.
“These unforeseen issues have occurred while being driven on patrol, sometimes resulting in the units being towed,” Steffanic said. “Recently we had a vehicle break down during a pursuit.”
She said leasing with Enterprise will make patrol work more efficient, lower maintenance costs and only generate one invoice monthly for maintenance. Enterprise also will be responsible for tracking maintenance data."