Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office buys 32 patrol cars, sees benefits in every deputy having their own
Valves expected savings, efficiencies seen by Clackamas County SO
RAINIER, Ore. (KTVZ) — The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is spending more than $1.1 million this fiscal year to purchase 32 patrol vehicles and about $1.2 million to prep and outfit them so that it revise its policy and assign a patrol car to each deputy, who can drive them home at the end of their shift. They say evidence shows that moving away from shared vehicles can increase their lifespan, increase their efficiency and improve response times.
In the past, patrol cars were shared by two deputies, who exchanged them every four days. But that could be tricky, depending on what happens, like major incidents during a shift change.
Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Sgt. Jayson Janes said the agency budgets for and orders new vehicles each year, and has ordered 32 for fiscal year 2022, including Dodge Chargers, Durangos and Ram 1500s. The additional cost to outfit each vehicle with the equipment needed by law enforcement is around $40,000.
In the past, he said, two deputies shared each patrol car.
“Our schedule is to work four 12-hour shifts, with four days off,” Janes said. “The schedule is two 12-hour days, then two 12-hour nights. The carpool was by one person at the end of his last night shift, picking up his carpool before the start of his first day shift . During the day, the shift assistant would then drop off the night assistant at his home and begin his shift.”
The swap took place every four days and “worked smoothly as long as nothing happened at the shift change,” Janes explained. “There have been a number of times near the shift change that major accidents or other incidents have occurred, and the night shift deputies would be involved in the incident, so the deputies from the oncoming day shift had to find another way to come to work and find a vehicle so they could start their shift.”
That meant the patrol car was in use 12 hours a day, seven days a week, “quickly driving up high mileage,” Janes said, which meant the vehicles had to be replaced after two or three years.
Janes said the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office started an “Assigned Vehicle Accountability Program in 2000. Since then, they’ve found that with everyone having their own vehicle, the life of the vehicle has increased, it’s improved the effectiveness of its patrol deputies, reduced response times to critical incidents, and improved the visibility of law enforcement in the community.”
The useful life of patrol cars has almost doubled, from 70,000 to 120,000 miles, while the useful life of vehicles has more than doubled, from about three to seven years, probably for two main reasons , said Sgt.
Deputies feel a sense of belonging to their assigned vehicles, Janes said, which means they take very good care of them. In addition, MPs can also be held liable for failing to ensure that their vehicles receive proper maintenance and minor repairs, which, if not carried out, can potentially reduce their lifespan.
Each deputy assigned their own patrol car also means they can respond quickly to an incident at the start of their shift, Janes said, while allowing off-duty deputies to respond quickly to critical incidents when more assistants are needed. “Deputies are also more likely to fill needed shifts if they have their own vehicle to use,” he said.