Supply chain issues affecting Bridgeport Police Department

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 10:09 AM EST
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This article comes from our media partners at Connect Bridgeport.

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Issues involving supply and demand in the automobile industry is still impacting just about everyone, including the Bridgeport Police Department.

Although Bridgeport Police Chief Mark Rogers has served for just a short time, he has taken over and continued the ongoing tradition endorsed and approved by City Council of escrowing funds and rotating police cruisers on a regular basis. However, this is no longer the case because of the ongoing supply issues.

In 2021, Rogers ordered six cruisers to be delivered last year. However, the Ford police package cars were not available as Ford notified the department early last year that there would be a delay.

As it turned out, the delay was much longer than anticipated. In fact, as the end of 2022 approached, Ford contacted the city again. This time, to let Rogers and the Bridgeport Police Department know the vehicles would not be available until 2023.

There was additional news from the supplier as well. The city was informed the price had increased to roughly $10,000 per vehicle.

“That’s the world we live in right now,” said Rogers. “It’s an issue with the vehicles and it’s an issue getting parts for existing vehicles. It has become difficult to navigate your needs because you’re at the will of the producers making the products you need.”

The parts issue was brought up due to another issue involving the Bridgeport Police vehicle fleet. Several of them have been hit by deer, some causing significant damage.

“(The photo below shows that a deer) strike activated the airbags and damaged the front of the vehicle quite severely,” said City Manager Brian Newton.

Photo shows Bridgeport Police Department cruiser damaged after striking a deer.
Photo shows Bridgeport Police Department cruiser damaged after striking a deer.(Connect Bridgeport)

As for preventative measures on deer strikes, Rogers said the department previously installed brush guards on the front of the cruisers. However, it was determined the cruisers sustained the same, if not more, damage with the guards on. Because of that, they are no longer installed, which has saved the city some dollars.

“We have more than enough cruisers to handle things, but you have some with hundreds of thousands of miles on them. On the deer strike front, with that many miles, it’s a surprise we don’t have more,” he said. “In the past, it was a matter of getting the vehicle to our garage and fixing them in a timely manner or sending them away for repair. That’s not the case now.”

And it has nothing to do with the city’s garage or a business that would address the issue. Rather, it goes back to the supply issues.

“We have a great maintenance garage for routine maintenance and handling some of the repairs. Our garage keeps us informed of the older cruisers outside of the warranty to let us make informed decisions about what is needed and when it’s time to go to a new vehicle,” said Rogers. “The problem is you can’t get new vehicles and you can’t always get the parts you need for repairs.”

Rogers said the public should not worry about availability. He said there nearly 40 officers with vehicles and most are in good working condition to safely allow them to do their job and provide public safety.

“We’re not out there having to walk yet,” Rogers joked. “At the same time, the further out it goes it gets a little concerning because you have zero control over it.”