The Atlanta Police Department’s 1,000+ vehicles are past their life cycles, according to an audit released by the city auditor’s office. Auditors recommended that the PD follow purchasing processes and Fleet Services complete all required fields when filling out work orders.
Police vehicle life cycles range from three to 10 years, depending on the vehicle model. Fifty-two percent of the 1,065 vehicles in the fleet were beyond their life cycle, and more than 75% of these were sedans, including the Ford Taurus, Ford Crown Victoria, and Chevrolet Cobalt. Fleet Services records show that police vehicles have an average age of seven years and roughly 72,000 miles. This is because the PD prioritizes the replacement of wrecked cars before the aged fleet.
The audit also looked at whether the PD ordered and received all vehicles funded by a 2018 ordinance that authorized $3.8 million in funding to purchase 88 vehicles. As of May 31, the PD has ordered 80 vehicles and received 60, using $3.6 million of the allowance. These include 50 Ford Explorers, 16 Chevrolet Impalas, nine Dodge Chargers, two Chevrolet Tahoes, and a Ford F-250, F-350, and a cutaway.
Auditors found that the PD did not follow the normal acquisition process, causing a delay in vehicle delivery by requesting special modifications after the initial purchase order had been approved. The audit recommended that the Chief of Police ensure that staff members follow the vehicle acquisition process and make no modifications to the initial purchase order after it has been approved unless Public Works coordinates the changes. The PD agreed with this recommendation and has implemented it, according to the audit.
Finally, auditors also reviewed turnaround times for repair of police vehicles and determined that the median turnaround time is 1.1 days for repairs and less than one day for preventive maintenance. Fleet Services prioritizes police vehicle work and completed 915 of the PD’s preventive maintenance work orders within two days.
The manufacturer’s recommendation for preventive maintenance is 7,500 miles, but Fleet Services lowered the threshold to 6,000 miles for the PD because police vehicles tend to have more wear and tear and idling.
Fleet Services started enforcing the entry of the “service status” field in work orders recently, and the audit recommended that Public Works enforce completion of all required fields, including service status, on work orders to accurately track out-of-service vehicles. Public Works agreed with this recommendation and will fully implement it in October, auditors noted in the report.