Police cruisers from 45 RCMP detachments across the north will be coming to Prince George to be commissioned and decommissioned, in an initiative approved by city council on Wednesday.
City supply and fleet services manager Scott Bone said the service will speed up the turn-around time for replacing police vehicles and make money for the city. Currently RCMP vehicles are commissioned and decommissioned by a garage run by RCMP “E” Division in Chilliwack.
“Currently it takes three months for the garage to get a vehicle processed and that’s routine replacement. Our timeline will be one month of less to commission or decommission a vehicle,” Bone said. “(And) we will achieve an operational revenue of $38,000 a year.”
Unscheduled vehicle replacements when police vehicles are destroyed in collisions can take up to five months, he said. Scheduled replacements happen when a cruiser reaches 160,000 km.
“When a vehicle is crashed and is no longer operable, it will cut replacement time by four months,” Bone said.
The Prince George RCMP detachment has 52 vehicles in its fleet and routinely replaces 14 a year. The 44 detachments in North District everything from 100 Mile House north to the Yukon border operate 423 vehicles and replace 84 per year on average.
When a police cruiser comes from the manufacturer, it has the interceptor engine and heavy suspension, Bone explained, but lacks the computers, lights, communication equipment, weapon storage and other modifications featured on police cars.
That equipment needs to be installed before the vehicle goes into service, and then uninstalled before the cruiser is sent to Chilliwack to be sold off.
The city will hire two mechanics to do that work at the city’s 18th Avenue yard, Bone said.
“We’ve done quite a bit of work on this. It’s a 19-bay facility. We will have the capacity for 80 vehicles. Those services will be done on an afternoon shift so it won’t affect our other operations,” Bone said. “We don’t see any downside with this.”
The city will charge the RCMP $59 an hour for the work, he said, which is the same rate charged by Chilliwack. However, the RCMP will save the cost and lost time of transporting the vehicles to and from Chilliwack.
It typically takes $3,000 worth of work to commission a new police cruiser, Bone said.
Last year city council approved $48,000 in the capital plan for security and fencing at the18th Avenue yard to facilitate the work. Bone said that cost will be repaid in just over a year.
“We give better service to the RCMP. We bring people to the city. (And) it becomes a profit centre,” Mayor Colin Kinsley said. “The sooner we can get cars coming here instead of to Chilliwack, the better.”
“It’s great to see some some services being repatriated from the south,” councillor Don Zurowski said.