Sunday, January 27, 2008

Maintenance of San Bernardino Police Fleet Criticized (The Press Enterprise Jan. 25, 2008) Poor Maintenance could mark a sign of things to come....

BS Ranch Perspective

What is the problem with the San Bernardino City, that they cannot take care of their own Police Department's Patrol & Specialized Division needs when it comes to the Maintenance of Emergency Vehicles, Why can't the city just ask for Bid's from Local Businesses to have them work on their Vehicles, and fix them in a more timely Manner then their own Maintenance Division is when working on their vehicles.

If I can take a much smaller City and use them for an example, a Neighboring city of San Bernardino has done just what I have described, and asked for Bids from several Ford Dealerships to see which one can do the best and Quickest work on their Emergency Vehicles. It just so happens that a Ford Dealership in another Neighboring City won that contract and is now currently doing the work on their Emergency Equipment. When the City was in the Attempt to Close the Doors of their own Police Agency and Contract with the Sheriff Department, they did the same exact thing that the City of San Bernardino is doing to them!! Now I am wondering if San Bernardino is in the middle of a Contract negotiation with either the Mechanics or The Police Department, in an Attempt to make the Police Department look bad and then they could Contract with the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department for Law Enforcement Services!!

The Last Question I posed is for the San Bernardino Police Department to think about, & maybe prepare for I hope that they are saved as the Rialto Police Department was. anyone knows that the Law Enforcement is much Better when you have a Smaller Concern working to make it better then a Super Power such as the San Bernardino Sheriff Department, who Especially wants the San Bernardino Police Agency, they would get all kinds of GOVERNMENT GRANTS just by having a BIG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, which is what the Mayor of San Bernardino wants to make it. (The San Bernardino International Airport). The Government Grants to be given out for better law enforcement, will make his department budget much stronger and much wealthier.

This is something that Mayor Morris Should Think about!! Especially for the City of San Bernardino!!!

Get them cars fixed or get a guy that likes to work on cars from the Patrol Division in the Motor Pool and Fix the ones that are broken and also Maintain the ones that need Oil changes etc etc.... Make the Cities problem not a problem...Just a thought from a low life patrol man....oops ex-Patrolman.

BS Ranch

Maintenance of San Bernardino police fleet criticized

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10:00 PM PST on Friday, January 25, 2008
The Press-Enterprise

Maintenance of San Bernardino's police vehicles is lagging while new patrol cars sit unused for months, the president of the city police union says.

In a recent letter to Police Chief Mike Billdt, Rich Lawhead, of the San Bernardino Police Officers Association, calls the general condition of the fleet "very poor."

Assistant Police Chief Frank Mankin responded by saying that despite occasional backlogs, the department practices timely vehicle maintenance and is working expeditiously to bring new patrol cars into service.

Lawhead's letter cites a series of delays:

Police sent members of an extra patrol team for a high-crime area home because they couldn't provide them vehicles.

On a recent visit to the city yard, Lawhead saw between 20 and 25 patrol vehicles undergoing or awaiting service. That's a quarter of the patrol fleet.

New patrol cars sat unused for roughly a year.

"It is my understanding that to this day, those vehicles are collecting dust in the yard and are still awaiting preparation for service," the letter states. "Simply put, it should not take a year to purchase and ready for service these vehicles we are desperately lacking."

Mankin said there was no such delay.

In July, the department took delivery on 10 new patrol vehicles, without complete police markings and equipment, he said. The upgrades took several months to arrive, Mankin said, but seven of the 10 vehicles are already in service, and the other three will be on the street "within the next couple weeks."

Mankin said the department is well within its schedule for putting all 10 vehicles to use by the end of the current fiscal year. Additionally, authorities have replaced another 15 vehicles out of another consignment, the assistant chief said.

Billdt and Mankin were responding to a document containing excerpts of Lawhead's letter and questioned its authenticity, pointing out that it was not written on San Bernardino Police Officers Association letterhead and was unsigned. On Friday, Lawhead said the document accurately conveys his concerns.

"That's not the same letter, but those are parts of the letter that I sent to the chief, I think on Jan. 10," he said.

Mankin declined to release the original letter.

Further, watch commanders and field supervisors are responsible for monitoring the condition of the cars, Mankin said.

Lawhead, a patrol division sergeant, said it's not fair to blame systemic shortfalls on mid-level supervisors. He said the department regularly keeps cars on the street until they are as much as 9,000 miles overdue on scheduled maintenance.

Officers keep cans of brake fluid on hand to top off reservoirs when warning lights go on. But that could distract them from their duty, Lawhead said.

"We should be driving the safest vehicles on the road," he said. "When you want a car to respond in a critical incident, you want it to respond."

Mankin said the rate at which the department services vehicles "fluctuates."

"While there are periods when there may be many vehicles awaiting service at city yards, as perhaps after a weekend, our fleet expeditor as well as our watch commanders work with the staff at city yards to get the cars back on line as soon as possible," he said.

As for Lawhead's claim that on Jan. 5, nine officers in a special patrol team had to be sent home for lack of cars, "the issue was resolved appropriately," Mankin said.

City Councilman Neil Derry said police officers first alerted him to vehicle maintenance issues three months ago. The problem should already be resolved, he said.

"As far as maintaining our police vehicles, I don't think that should fall through the cracks," he said. "If we don't have the resources our officers need, somebody's falling down on the job."

Reach Chris Richard at 909-806-3076 or

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