BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – Crime is still high and to make matters worse, police are now feeling the sting of supply chain issues. Like many people across the country, police are having a hard time getting new patrol cars.
“Right now, there’s a shortage of vehicles we have in our department due to the computer chip issue,” said Sgt. Ljean McKneely with BRPD.
Sgt. McKneely said these units are more than just a car. For the officers, it’s an extension of their office.
“We use those vehicles to do all our paperwork, transporting people, I mean everything that we have to do our job is inside of those cars,” McKneely explained.
Because officers do so much driving on the job, cars are typically replaced every 3-6 years. The department says they currently have a backlog of about 280 vehicles.
“Officers are now, the younger guys, driving their personal vehicles to the districts and then from there they’re pairing up with other officers if we don’t have any spare units, and most of the time the spare units are checked out,” Sgt. McKneely continued.
But, it’s not just getting new cars that’s become an issue. They’re also having to keep existing units on the streets longer, which in turn is racking up maintenance costs.
The older cars have maintenance issues, maintenance issues require parts, parts require money. And, when cars that are ordered show up, they’re not exactly ready to hit the road. They need to be outfitted with all the police equipment and tune-ups required to do the job.
“One problem is getting the cars, the second is outfitting the units for police use. We have to get the bar lights on them, the cages inside, all the computer systems in order for us to be able to type our reports, the GPS, all that has to go inside the vehicle,” said Sgt. McKneely.
Department officials say, at this point, it’s a waiting game. All they can do now is stay on top of their vendors and keep tabs on their orders. They say they hope to have the backlog issues cleared up sometime within the next year.
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