JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Jonesboro Police Department has recently added a valuable member to its force. . .a master mechanic.
Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott said he began looking into ways to save money on what it costs to run the department.
He discovered it was possible they could save substantial money by hiring a mechanic to get work done on the many vehicles in their fleet.
Elliott said they've already discovered they're saving money.
"We had an opportunity to hire a master mechanic for the police department," Chief Elliott said. "By bringing this individual on board we've already had huge savings in our expenses. Jobs that require us to send units to be outsourced to dealerships for repairs, this mechanic will be able to do in-house. So, he's been working five days now. We've already had six vehicles that would have had to have been sent out for service that he took care of in-house. We estimate cost savings on labor alone was well over $2,000 in the last five days. I think in over a year's period of time, the savings will be very beneficial for the department and the fact that we have a mechanic in-house will be very beneficial. One we can get units serviced and worked on and get them in and out of the shop much quicker so they can be out in the streets."
Elliott said they want to get their vehicles fixed and back out on the street as quickly as possible.
"We do have a 'take home' fleet program," Elliott said. "So, every sworn officer is assigned a unit. And these units have to be maintained and ready for emergency response 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So, we want our units to be in top-notch shape. There are times during these officer's shift that they need the unit to be dependable and they need to get where they're going. Sometimes they have to do so in a hurry. We just want to be in the best mechanical condition and we don't want to put our officers' lives at risk by a vehicle that's not in good shape. I think this is going to help on the preventative maintenance end. And when things do need to be fixed we can get it done pretty quick. And then, the big thing is cost savings. I was looking for ways to cut down on cost in what it takes to run the department. I think this is one where we will see savings over a period of time."
Elliott said he also wants to make sure they keep everyone safe.
Both his officers and the citizens of Jonesboro.
"We have to put people in the car that we transport," Elliott said. "If there was something faulty that hadn't been addressed or fixed and the car falls apart due to mechanical reasons then that could put us up for liability. And we want to keep everyone safe. I think this is huge for the department and for the city."
Elliott said they're thrilled to have had the opportunity to hire such an experienced mechanic.
"To have a person of this caliber, Elliott said. "For what he's being paid is a huge bargain. He was wanting less hours and this is an opportunity for him to get a week's work without having to work 60 plus hours a week. With his expertise and what he can bring to the table, this is one of those deals that was just a huge win for the department and for the city."
Their new mechanic oversees other people with special skills in their shop.
"He was given a supervisor position over the shop," Elliott said. "There's another worker that works on vehicles, we have an electronics installer technician who also works in the shop. So, when we get a new vehicle in we start with our electronics expert installing all of our wiring and equipment in the vehicle. Once upon a time, the department outsourced that. And we found a qualified person to come in and take care of those needs on a daily basis. Now that we've got a mechanic in the shop, anything that happens to that vehicle electrical or mechanical, we can pretty much take care of it in-house now."
Elliott said they have around 180 vehicles in their fleet.
For more information about the Jonesboro Police Department, click here.