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Santa Monica Awaiting 'Upfitting' to Equip Scores of Replacement Vehicles for Police


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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

September 27, 2017 -- Still awaiting the “upfitting” of scores of replacement vehicles for Santa Monica police, the City Council on Tuesday added another two years to an existing contract to install the standard and special equipment.

If the 2014 contract for $2.37 million for the work is not estended, 26 Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicles, soon to arrive, could otherwise sit idle for up to a year.

The contract with Airwave Communications Enterprises, a California-based company, will give it time to prepare a total of 87 vehicles for use by the Santa Monica Police Department, a Tuesday report to the council said.

“Upfitting” includes the installation of equipment that includes emergency lighting, warning signals and police radios.

Some vehicles would also be equipped with prisoner transport systems and additional equipment such as a mobile computer and camera systems, Cline said.

All the new vehicles are replacing those that have reached the “end of their cost-effective useful life,” said the report by Susan Cline, director of public works and street and fleet services.

Under the bid, the cost for the work is about $13,500 per vehicle, she said.

The City’s original three-year contract with Airwaves Communication, not to exceed $2,376,000, was due to expire October 28. Its scope included preparing 176 replacement vehicles in three years, which City staff had estimated would be an adequate length of time.

However, only 71 Police Department vehicles have been replaced and upfitted since then, the report said.

The future of 26 Ford Police Interceptor Utility Vehicles for the SMPD is also an issue.

Scheduled to arrive in the next few months, the vehicles “will be delivered and will sit, unused, until a formal bid is drafted, posted, and awarded by Council,” Cline said.

“This process may take from six to 12 months,” she said.

In the meantime, police “would be forced to continue to utilize the existing, older vehicles past their cost-effective useful life while their newly purchased (replacements) sit unused waiting for upfitting,” staff said.

“This could cause a variety of issues ranging from increased maintenance costs to vehicle accidents," Cline said. "Any additional vehicles purchased for the Police Department over the next year may also sit unused while the formal bid is finalized.”

By extending the first contract instead, the work is to be completed by October of 2019.

The five-year amended agreement will not change to contract’s total cost. The extension went before the council as a consent item on its Tuesday agenda.

Consent items are typically routine matters which are passed without comment or controversy.


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