The vehicle shortage is being felt across metro Atlanta, with some jurisdictions trying to piggyback on orders from departments in neighboring states in a bid to get ahead in the line.
Some police departments, such as Clayton’s, are already assigning two officers to a car in some cases, while Henry has 34 or so Ford Crown Victoria models that have been in use since 1999.
“In some instances we have had to double up based upon maintenance issues where we are not able to get the parts in order to get cars back in service,” Clayton Chief Operating Officer Detrick Stanford said.
Henry fleet leaders said even some of the county’s newer law enforcement cars, namely the Dodge Charger, are maintenance nightmares. The cars have issues with brakes, transmissions and engines, Henry Police Chief Mark Amerman said.
Henry commissioners Vivian Thomas and Dee Clemmons said they understand the impact of the chip shortage, but said local vendors should have been considered in the purchases. Henry is buying the pursuit vehicles from a dealership in Smyrna (Clayton is buying its cars from Woody Folsom of Vidalia).
“I want to challenge the purchasing department and our county manager to purposely look for opportunities that will involve our small businesses in Henry County,” Thomas said.
County Manager Cheri Hobson-Matthews said Henry has opened the bidding process locally, but that the state had already found the best prices, which is what led to the Smyrna dealership.
“We are competing with every jurisdiction to try to get vehicles,” she said.