So. Jacksonville Police Fleet Suffering Supply Chain Pains

By Jeremy Coumbes on January 9, 2024 at 2:26pm

The South Jacksonville Police Department is feeling the strain of supply and demand after two squad cars were heavily damaged last fall. Back in October, South Jacksonville Police responded to assist the Jacksonville Police who were in pursuit of an SUV that had fled from an attempted traffic stop.

Two South Jacksonville Police squad cars were hit by the SUV during the course of the pursuit. One was sideswiped by the fleeing suspect at South Main and Michigan, and the other was struck head-on by the SUV at East Michigan and South East Street.

Neither of the South Jacksonville Officers sustained injury in the crash. The two squad cars however were heavily damaged and put out of commission, leaving the South Jacksonville Police short on vehicles.

Chief Eric Hansel updated the Village Board of Trustees during the January meeting Thursday night on the status of the department’s fleet. Hansel says they were lucky with one of the squad cars, but not both.

“The first car that was damaged, car number four, it had damage to both passenger side doors, and they have been replaced. We actually salvaged those off of the other car that was damaged. We got it back on the road within about a two-week period. The other car was totaled out it had too much front-end damage so it needs to be totally replaced.”

Hansel says compounding the problem is another vehicle in the fleet was due for replacement in the regular vehicle rotation so his department needs to acquire two new vehicles, which is something he says is nearly impossible right now.

But right now the problem is getting two new squad cars. With the auto workers’ shutdown and supply chain issues, we’ll probably be waiting six or eight months for two new cars. But we’re plugging along, we had one extra car that was a spare car, but we can’t afford to lose any extras.”

The six-week United Auto Workers strike last year caused the shutdown of Ford Motor Company’s Chicago Assembly plant between mid-September and late October where all Ford Explorer SUVs are made, including the law enforcement fleet vehicles.

Hansel says the squad due for regular replacement was already factored into the budget and insurance will help with the totaled vehicle, so the biggest problem right now is time more than funding.