Dallas area police departments have struggled to maintain a sufficient fleet of squad cars due to global supply chain issues. Police officers in the DFW metroplex have been left waiting for an available vehicle at times due to an aging fleet with few replacements in sight.
A significant number of new squad cars, however, are sitting in storage at the old Naval Air Station near Mountain Creek Lake in Grand Prairie. Departments cannot use these vehicles because they are still waiting on computer chips manufactured predominately overseas.
Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia explained that they are waiting for chips “like a lot of other car manufacturers.” As for the police department, he said, “We’re no different than the other consumer.”
However, Garcia reassured people, saying, “Help’s on the way, but we’re kind of at the mercy of the supply.”
Many modern cars require advanced semiconductor chips to operate at their intended capacity or even at all. In 2021 alone, an estimated 11.3 million fewer cars were produced due to shortages caused by factors including the COVID-19 shutdowns.
Governor Greg Abbott has promoted efforts to make Texas a major player in manufacturing these chips to reduce national dependence on imports.
Abbott suggested Texas “will be the home of semiconductor manufacturing going forward,” enabling the U.S. to stop relying on foreign countries. America currently produces roughly 12% of chips globally.
Late last year, Samsung Electronics announced a $17 billion investment to build a semiconductor manufacturing plant in Taylor, Texas, northeast of Austin. Additionally, semiconductor service company GlobiTech will build a facility in Sherman, while GlobalWafers similarly announced the intention to locate a new factory in North Texas.
These projects are still years away from completion. Meanwhile, DFW police continue to wait in line for the necessary chips.
A squad car shortage, however, has been a persistent issue for the Dallas PD. Complaints regarding an insufficient number of vehicles date back to early 2020, just before the pandemic.