Following are the latest "tips" passed along for Fleet Managers from the pros:
Taking a Police/Public Safety Vehicle out of service? You’re not done yet!
When police/public safety vehicles are being removed from service, they are often reassigned to another department. This allows others to benefit from the vehicle that is no longer in a high risk application and is an opportunity to extend the overall life. Other times they are sold to the public at auction or used as a trade-in. It is important to know the originating agency is solely responsible for the removal of ALL safety equipment, radios, graphics, license plates etc. If the agency chooses to outsource the removal of such equipment, there should be appropriate oversight in place to ensure the agency assumes no further liability once the vehicle is sold or transferred.
I would also recommend that each vehicle be screened with the use of a narcotics dog prior to sale. Not only is this an opportunity for training, but this process may save a citizen from unknowingly being in possession of illegal substances or paraphernalia left behind and unnecessarily exposing your agency to any future liability for false arrest. And yes, this tip is based on a real-life case study!
Finally, if your vehicles are sold at auction (in-house or outsourced), or by sealed bid, I strongly recommend in addition to properly removing ALL safety equipment and personal objects, the vehicle/equipment be immediately re-titled to the new owner onsite (if possible) at the time of the sale unless the sale is to a licensed dealer. If the tag agency is offsite, I recommend that the agency (seller) retain the vehicle and all keys until such time as the buyer returns with documented evidence that the vehicle is no longer in the agency’s name. Believe it or not, I have had several vehicles purchased at auction over the years that were driven from the auction site to a crime scene and then left on the roadway after the getaway. Our agency was real excited to find the vehicle involved in the crime so quickly ... only to discover that the vehicle was still registered to us and the buyer was not traceable. Don’t let this happen to you.
Submitted by: Drew Terpak, FSA Contract Specialist and
Retired City of Miami Beach Fleet Director