The Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted an audit of the Department of Fleet and Facility Management’s (2FM) maintenance of the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) vehicle fleet. 2FM manages CPD’s 3,000-plus vehicles by making replacement purchases and performing maintenance and repairs on behalf of CPD. The objective of this audit was to determine whether 2FM meets the industry standard of at least 95% fleet availability for police vehicles, as recommended by the American Public Works Association (APWA). “Availability” is a fleet management performance measure that compares the number of hours a vehicle is expected to be available for use (e.g., 8 hours a day) to the number of hours it is actually available. Availability is a critical performance measure, because it measures a fleet management agency’s success in achieving its primary objective—keeping vehicles on the road. Low vehicle availability could hinder police response and operations, negatively impacting the safety of officers and the public.
OIG concluded that 2FM’s inaccurate data prevented the Department from assessing how effectively it managed the police fleet, and that 2FM did not perform most preventive maintenance in a timely manner. OIG found that 2FM could not determine whether it met the industry standard of at least 95% fleet availability because it lacked accurate availability data. 2FM did not maintain up-to-date information in 2017 regarding the hours when each vehicle was expected to be available for use, which is needed to calculate availability. We also found that the settings in 2FM’s fleet management system created inaccurate data regarding when some vehicles are unavailable—also known as downtime—which is needed to calculate availability.
In addition, OIG found that in 2017 2FM performed only 12.9% of preventive maintenance in a timely manner. This low rate was primarily due to delayed requests from 2FM for CPD to deliver vehicles to its garages. OIG reviewed preventive maintenance data from a sample of 9 police districts in 2018, finding that 2FM requested vehicles an average of 68 days after they were due for maintenance and that CPD delivered the vehicles to a 2FM garage an average of 13 days after receiving the requests. Improperly maintained vehicles are likely to have shorter lifespans, more unscheduled downtime for repairs, and require more frequent and costly repairs.
We recommend that 2FM work with CPD to obtain correct information regarding the hours when vehicles are expected to be available, and to improve the accuracy of its data on vehicle downtime. We also recommend that 2FM perform preventive maintenance in a timely manner. To achieve that goal, 2FM should first analyze its operations to identify process improvement opportunities, and then determine if additional resources are needed. Finally, we recommend that 2FM work with CPD to ensure efficient management of the police fleet by improving interdepartmental communication and cooperation.
In response to our audit findings and recommendations, 2FM stated that it has improved data quality to calculate availability, adjusted staffing to meet maintenance demand, and is working closely with CPD to ensure that appropriate information sharing and operational collaboration is being implemented to ensure efficient and cost-effective fleet maintenance.