The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) has completed an audit of the Department of Fleet and Facility Management’s (2FM) maintenance of the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) 3,000-plus vehicle fleet, which found that 2FM did not meet the industry standard of at least 95% fleet availability in 2017. Fleet “availability” is a management performance metric 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, which is critical to a fleet 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 found that 2FM’s inaccurate data prevented the Department from assessing how effectively it managed the police fleet, and that 2FM performed only 12.9% of preventive maintenance in a timely manner in 2017. Improperly maintained vehicles are likely to have shorter lifespans, more unscheduled downtime for repairs, and require more frequent and costly repairs. The low rate of preventive maintenance was primarily due to delayed requests from 2FM for CPD to deliver vehicles to its garages, with vehicles requested an average of 68 days after they were due for maintenance and CPD delivering the vehicles to a 2FM garage an average of 13 days after receiving the requests.
OIG recommended that 2FM work with CPD to improve communication and cooperation for more efficient management of CPD’s fleet, to include obtaining the data needed to accurately track vehicle availability and improving the accuracy of its data on vehicle downtime. We also recommended that 2FM perform timely preventive maintenance and determine what process improvements or additional resources it may need to achieve that goal. In response, 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.
“2FM’s maintenance and assurance of continued availability of police vehicles is crucial to CPD’s responsiveness and organizational effectiveness, contributing to public safety throughout Chicago,” said Inspector General Joe Ferguson. “2FM is to be lauded for its proactivity in welcoming OIG’s independent review and its ensuing effort to promptly implement our recommendations, improving its communication with CPD to assure that appropriate information-sharing and operational collaboration is occurring.”
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