of police fleet manager usually comes with a promotion. It is often a stepping
stone as someone moves through the ranks. Yesterday, you were the sergeant on
midnights and today you are the new fleet manager. Regardless of your previous
experience or training, you are now responsible for maintaining a safe,
functional and cost effective fleet.
that, and right away, you will need training. Moreover, you will need
networking. Don’t be intimidated about your new assignment. You may be better
off than you think since you haven’t developed any bad fleet habits. The
training may not be as formal as DHS training on handling a HazMat situation,
but the training does need to happen. There is a lot to learn. Some of it will
save your department money and some of it could possibly make you a hero.
One, you need to reach out to those other fleet managers you already know. Many
have been doing this for some time and they can share with you what secrets
they have learned. There are online resources, such and Police Fleet Institute,
which offer training and networking. Sites such as LinkedIn also provide an
avenue of resources and groups from which you can draw knowledge.
shameless plug here—you can get great training and even better contacts at one
of the two annual Police Fleet Expos. Visiting one of these Expos, you will
gain so much more than the educational content and can face time with the
vendors on the show floor. The networking opportunities will be priceless and
offer you far more than any structured course on fleet management. You will
meet professional fleet managers, vendors, shop managers.
took over as fleet manager for my agency, one of the first things that caught
my attention as critically important was writing proper bid specs. In many
small agencies, the same person who bids the backhoes, dump trucks and admin
vehicles also bids the police vehicles. These obviously are not the same kind
of vehicles and need different attention.
partnering with your municipal fleet person, you can absorb a lot of knowledge
and become acquainted with the purchasing policies of your jurisdiction. Make
sure you explore what others have bid before you reinvent the wheel. Though it
varies by jurisdiction, many places will allow you to piggyback on either a
state or other locality bid. This will save you a lot of time and generally a
lot of money.
ever wonder if and where you were going to use that high school math? As a
self-proclaimed businessman in government, I often felt there was a lot of
arbitrary ways of getting things done. One such thing was the cycle with which
police vehicles were rotated. Several years ago, I met a mathematics professor
Giant Aryani, from whom I learned the process of completing a lifecycle cost
at first, this process is the simple use of a spreadsheet and applying numbers
that are typically available from your own files or wherever your vehicles are
serviced. By applying this practice, you
will put numbers on paper which will help you decide which police vehicles to
buy and how long you should typically keep them assuring you get the most of
the money you’re spending. You will be able to offer a business plan to your
administrators and become the fiscal hero of your jurisdiction.
the biggest piece to your success in fleet management comes from your enjoyment
of what you are undertaking. The only budget in a police department larger than
fleet is personnel, which makes it a notable responsibility and in need of
proper management. Using the training offered by such groups as Police Fleet
Expo and Police Fleet Institute, your own networking, and a dash of the passion
you have for law enforcement, you will be well on the road to success.
Scott Coy, Police Fleet Expo
Chair, was a lieutenant with the Western Michigan University Police Department.
He brought the practice of private business into government as it pertained to
his responsibilities at the department. This practice created a bar of fiscal
responsibility not only in the management of his department’s fleet, which he
had been doing since 2003, but has been shared via published articles and in
person with several agencies. Scott was also responsible for all technology
deployed at the department from radios to computers, whether it be in the
patrol car or office. He can be reached at email@example.com.