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Refurbished and Reconditioned Police Vehicles, Part 3

Used and refurbished or reconditioned police vehicles have become popular options with fleet managers as a way of saving money when upgrading or replacing a fleet. “Used,” “refurbished” and “reconditioned” can mean different things depending on the company doing the work. Police Fleet Manager

recently surveyed a number of companies from across the country to find out what types of services they offer. In alphabetic order, here is the final group.

SOUTHWEST PUBLIC SAFETY



Southwest Public Safety (SWPS) provides a one-stop shopping experience for those buying used police cars and emergency equipment. Based in San Antonio, TX, SWPS’s goal is to provide the highest quality used police vehicles, keeping fleets updated with the latest models of reconditioned cruisers. Sales Manager Chris Snocker talked to PFM about SWPS.

Many of SWPS’s customers are purchasing on a yearly basis in order to keep their fleets fresh. All of its installation technicians are factory certified to ensure that every vehicle is built with the best workmanship available. The company guarantees its installs for the life of the vehicle in service as a patrol unit and is responsible for the largest fleet in south central Texas, having serviced it now for more than eight years. It also services more than 200 local agencies with equipment and installation.

SWPS reconditions every vehicle inside and out, mechanically and cosmetically. The oil and oil filter are changed, and the antifreeze is flushed and replaced. The transmission fluid and filters are replaced, and the rear-end differential fluid is changed. All pads and brakes are replaced. The following items are inspected, tested and replaced on the vehicles if necessary: Serpentine belt, coil packs, brake rotors, tires, belts and hoses. The interior is inspected—tears and rips in the seats and headlines are replaced by the panel. Any trim that is broken or missing also is replaced. The spare tire, tire tool and jack are installed, in addition to the AM/FM factory stereo.

The exterior is inspected by SWPS’s paint shop, where all holes are filled and dents are pulled. The car is completely repainted. The majority are painted white, but SWPS will paint any color required by the customer. Snocker said the company goes through each car very thoroughly, “much more than just wash and sell.” In addition, SWPS will replace any engine or transmission needed with a factory reconditioned replacement part.

SWPS purchases all of its cars from the South, but it sells them nationwide. It purchases its cars primarily from one agency, but officials are open to buying from other sources if necessary. According to Snocker, SWPS sells to municipalities mostly, but individuals are welcome to purchase cars—without the police lighting, of course.

The Ford Crown Victoria P71 Police Interceptor is the signature make and model of used police cars. Vehicles at SWPS usually have between 60,000 and 61,000 miles on them. Snocker said SWPS rarely sells a car more than 3 or 4 years old; most of its cars are 1 to 2 years old. A 2005 Crown Victoria with 61,000 miles sells for $12,500 at SWPS.

VETO ENTERPRISES INC.



Veto Enterprises Inc. in Sycamore, IL, was established in August of 1969 by Robert A. Veto. Veto started out in the law enforcement equipment field after being an officer. He kept in mind how little money most departments have to spend in order to purchase equipment, and he started what he calls “creative selling.” He takes in all sorts of trade-ins on newer vehicles and/or equipment. This “creative selling” enables departments to purchase things they wouldn’t have been able to with funds generated from auctions and such, which normally go into a general fund. Veto serves customers all over the United States, Canada and overseas.

The first thing Veto Enterprises does is inspect each car mechanically and electronically. This inspection includes a tune-up, as well as flushing all fluids and changing all filters. In addition, the suspension and brakes are checked and replaced if necessary. If the belts are in good shape, they are not changed. Veto said about one out of 15 belts is bad. If the cars come with multiple holes in the roof, the extras are filled. Technicians perform a final detail on the car, which includes washing and fixing any holes in the interior of the car, such as on the dashboard, upholstery, etc.

Veto can change the two-tone color to a solid color, but he said sometimes customers prefer the two-tone color. He leaves a lot of cars “as is” in his inventory and then makes changes per customers’ requests. New tires are typically put on each car. Generally Veto does not install rebuilt engines or transmissions, but it all depends on what the customers want and what they are willing to spend. Used transmissions carry a three-year / 36,000-mile warranty.

The majority of Veto’s cars are purchased in the Midwest because it is very costly to get them on a truck and ship them. He said there are a lot of vehicles to choose from in Illinois. His cars usually have between 40,000 and 80,000 miles on them. A few very small agencies that can’t afford new cars might have cars with more than 80,000 miles. For example, he has had some cars in excess of 100,000 miles from the South, where the weather is not such a factor on the wear and tear of the vehicle.

Veto sells Chevy Impalas, Ford CVPIs, Dodge Intrepids, as well as some SUVs and pickups. According to Veto, the Dodge Chargers are still too new to need any refurbishing or reconditioning. He finds agencies that need off-road capability like the Chevy Tahoe, which is two-wheel drive. States such as Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota usually favor pickups and SUVs. Jeeps are very popular too, and even the Hummer has a police package, but according to Veto, it is too expensive for most departments. The Impala is popular with civilians because of its front-wheel drive and good gas mileage.

Veto warned that just because a car is newer does not mean it is better. Consumers need to beware of the “rough” miles put on it, especially if it is not taken care of. He has some 1999s that are in good shape—even better shape than some 2003 models. “Big-city cars are beat up,” Veto stated. He prefers cars that have had only one driver. A 2003 Ford CVPI with 50,000 miles costs $11,500 at Veto Enterprises.

WILD ROSE MOTORS



Located in Fullerton, CA, Wild Rose Motors is a supplier of retired police interceptors. Wild Rose purchases only the best police vehicles; it services them, details them, and fits them to meet customers’ specific needs. Clients include the FBI, ranger departments, probation departments, police departments, security and fire companies, as well as the general public. Wild Rose sells Ford Crown Victorias, Chevrolet SS Impalas and Chevrolet Caprices. All vehicle selections and services are done in house with 25 years of experience. General Manager Seton Montgomerie talked to PFM about Wild Rose’s services.

Once a car arrives at Wild Rose Motors, it goes through a full-service mechanical inspection. Montgomerie said he replaces anything that could fail or is nearing its end of life, including hoses, oil ring seals, radiators, or anything for preventative maintenance. The company always changes the engine oil and filter and uses only premium quality products, such as Valvoline VR1, a racing-grade oil, and Mobil 1 Synthetic for transmissions. Rebuilt engines and transmissions are installed if the vehicle has a mechanical defect or if the customer requests it.

Additional services include checking the spark plugs, wires, air filter; throttle body plate intake and cleaning; engine and transmission mounts checked and/or replaced; transmission service; filter and gasket change and inspection, refills with high-quality Dextron3 fluid; replace exhaust mounts; limited slip rear-end fluid replacement as required. Brake service includes a pad replacement and flush, plus diagnostic checks on all systems.

The most important aspect of the Crown Victorias is the high-speed interceptor package containing a high-performance engine, twin cam, multi-point injected V-8, a high-performance computer, a 120-amp heavy-duty alternator, a heavy-duty water pump, an external, aircraft-quality engine, two transmission coolers, a double-fan radiator cooling system and a heavy-duty radiator. In addition, there’s a heavy-duty, four-speed electronic transmission and an extra capacity transmission, limited slip high-ratio rear end, and super-duty ABS four-wheel disc breaks.

Wild Rose’s Chevy SS Impalas and Caprices are equipped with the high-speed interceptor package containing a high-performance Corvette engine 5.7 liter, multi-point injector V-8 or V-6, a high-performance computer, a 120-amp heavy-duty alternator, a heavy-duty water pump, an external engine cooler, two transmission coolers, a double-fan radiator cooling system and a heavy-duty radiator.

These vehicles also have a 700R heavy-duty Corvette transmissions; limited slip high-ratio rear end; super-duty ABS four-wheel disc breaks; heavy-duty high performance, ventilated rims that are 1 inch wider than standard; Goodyear Eagle RSA 225-70, Z rated tires; super-duty good-performance suspension package; front and rear sway bars with heavy-duty suspension bushings; heavy-duty shocks and springs; and high-performance twin tuned exhaust. Safety features include high-impact-reinforced impact bars, drive shaft and universals.

Wild Rose contracts out to a paint shop for repainting two-tone police cars to solid colors, or per customers’ requests. All cars are sanitized in addition to being cleaned and detailed. Carpet and upholstery are replaced as needed, so the car is as close to new as the customer’s budget allows.

The majority of Wild Rose’s vehicles are from California. Montgomerie calls West Coast cars “superior” due to the good weather and roads in that region of the country. He went on to say that a 5-year-old car in New York has had its life, whereas a car the same age in California might have many more good years left. That’s why Wild Rose does not deal with out-of-state vehicles, again due to potential problems such as corrosion.

Montgomerie said legislation in California is strict, so he “hand picks” every vehicle to ensure that he gets the best vehicle possible. He has worked with agencies from Orange County, CA for many years due to Wild Rose’s “good reputation for giving officers fair deals and the respect they deserve,” Montgomerie said.

Wild Rose sells to many different departments for both patrol use and take-home fleets. Montgomerie works with small departments on tight budgets, even giving them deals such as “three for the price of one.” He gives discounts to law enforcement, government offices, and the military to show his appreciation for the jobs they do. The Marines have used his cars for training purposes.

Montgomerie said a lot of families with teenage drivers have been buying used police cars because of the safety factor. Parents with young children also like the fact that the Ford CVPI can fit three car seats across the back seat. Many of Wild Rose’s customers are people who have been in accidents and now want a safer car.

Vehicles found at Wild Rose typically have 50,000 to 90,000 miles on them. The company does not place a “cutoff” age on its cars, but it usually deals with Ford Crown Victorias from model years 1997 to 2005. Chevy Impalas range from 1993 to 1996. Nearly new vehicles are also available if a customer requests one.

A 2-year-old CVPI with 85,000 miles would sell for $9,980 at Wild Rose Motors. A Fleet Replacement Program is also available. Montgomerie said his cars are “all ready to go.” If a customer needs 10 cars tomorrow, he can supply them. He also offers negotiated contract rates and fleet discounts for the more you buy. The company ships cars all over the country and as far as Australia.

Though a small company, Wild Rose Motors prides itself on high-quality customer service. Originally from New Zealand, Montgomerie said he brought his business sense from there. He once had a client whose wife was stuck on the freeway with car trouble and drove out to help her. “That’s PR that money can’t buy,” Montgomerie said. The company sells a large volume of vehicles based on word of mouth alone. Montgomerie will pay a $100 finder’s fee to anyone who refers someone to his shop.

Jennifer Gavigan has been writing for Police Fleet Manager magazine for more than five years, providing readers with cutting-edge software, communication and technology information. She can be reached at jengavigan@comcast.net.










Published in Police Fleet Manager, Nov/Dec 2008

Rating : 10.0


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