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Saturday, November 26, 2022
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Shortage of Police Cars Making City Less Safe


Dallas Police Units | Image by FOX 4

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Dallas is dealing with a critical shortage of emergency vehicles, prompting Mayor Eric Johnson to plea for federal support in a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, as reported by The Dallas Express.

The city does not have enough fire trucks, ambulances, and police squad cars, according to the mayor.

The shortage of police cars is reportedly affecting police response times and rendering some officers unable to patrol the streets.

“Several officers may be waiting at the station to be able to take a squad car out,” Dallas Police Association president Michael Mata told NBC 5. “You might have six, eight, ten officers really just sitting at the substation waiting for a car to show up so they can go into service.”

Mata suggested to The Dallas Express that the shortage of police cars makes the city less safe.

“More squad cars are more efficient, faster response times, more visibility,” said Mata. “We have cars that are older … we have cars with 100,000 plus [miles] some with 120,000 plus out there, and so they need a lot more mechanical care.”

The police association president said no one is to blame for the shortages, but the COVID pandemic played a significant role in the issue by affecting national supply chains.

“It’s just very poor timing, you know, we probably should have bought more cars, pre-COVID, but you know, that again, you didn’t know COVID was coming,” Mata said. “So, it made a small problem, a large problem, they would normally take less than three months to get a squad car in and get it through shop to get decals and lights, and all that on can easily do it within 60-90 days.”

“Now you’re waiting 60-90 days just to get parts,” Mata continued. “And so those a lot of these cars are just sitting waiting to be furnished out.”

In addition to supply chain issues, unexpected floods in August reportedly ruined dozens of emergency vehicles, including at least two dozen Dallas Police vehicles.

Mata said there is no easy solution since the issue is also affecting other cities nationwide.

“I appreciate the fact that the mayor wrote a letter to Secretary Buttigieg to try and see if he can do anything,” he said. “I think ultimately, it’s just a shipping issue, it’s a manufacturing issue, and that’s not going to be fixed overnight.”

The Dallas Fire Department usually has 23 trucks in the fleet, but nine were out of service at the end of September due to needing maintenance, The Dallas Express reported.

“It’s a bigger issue with your fire department because they don’t have as many apparatuses,” Mata said. “So, when they don’t have a fire engine or an ambulance, they can’t just replace it. So, they have to shut down that firehouse and move the responsibilities to another firehouse which doubles their, you know, their duties and response times will then go up also. So, you know, this is a full public safety issue.”

Ultimately, Mata would like to see manufacturers prioritize getting parts to public safety departments across the country over private citizens.

“Maybe those manufacturers can get those parts to the public safety quicker rather than into a public vehicle or citizens vehicle,” he said. “And that’s all we can really hope for that we’re prioritized.”

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