How Law Enforcement Determines and Uses Key Performance Indicators

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Release date: 4/18/2018

Each fleet segment has requirements that demand specialization, not only in the vehicles being utilized but how they are maintained, repaired, and in some cases resold to the public. When law enforcement fleet professionals determine the effectiveness of their work and equipment, their key performance indicators (KPIs) need to factor in another level of unique circumstances.
For example, law enforcement vehicles must perform under conditions and stress that other fleet vehicles don't. Vehicles are chosen to handle demanding utility. Fleet vehicles which will be remarketed will go through an extra level of maintenance that law enforcement vehicles tend not to. When law enforcement vehicles are remarketed, they have to be stripped down to bare essentials so that police equipment upfits don't enter into civilian hands.
Likewise, evaluating the performance objectives of a public works fleet or of a police department motor pool depends mainly on reliability and utility - and the costs required to maintain both.
How are Law Enforcement KPIs Determined? Each fleet requires specific performance data to prove it is either meeting its goals, or else deficiencies are revealed. At the outset, KPIs are shaped by established industry standards, with a more specific discussion following with various stakeholders.    
"KPIs were determined at my Team 1 level, which includes my director and leadership team members," said Mark W. Brochtrup, CAFM, City of Coppell, Texas. "We initially came up with a long laundry list of KPIs for each division within the Engineering/Public Works Department. We ran with that list for the first year and then took a step back to look at them all. We then pared it down to ‘what matters’ or what actually tells our story – these KPIs are reported to City Council on a quarterly basis.”
“In Illinois KPIs are based on fleet management principles, agency collaboration, and available data,” said Ashley Noblet, Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) Deputy Director for Agency Services, Springfield, Ill.  "In addition, Illinois also mandates that certain fleet metrics be captured annually including utilization, mileage, costs, maintenance, and fuel consumption. CMS’ fleet management maintains additional KPIs for individual agencies that may have specific needs.”
Chris Means, CAFM, Interim Assistant Director, Property Management-Fleet, City of Fort Worth, Texas, said that because of the unique nature of law enforcement fleets, “Specs can be different and unusual. The police department usually has priority of fleet over all other departments. That results in less standardization due to multiple sub-department factors (SWAT, Bomb Disposal, Traffic Patrol, etc.). Usually, funding is less an issue for this than other departments when it comes to the acquisition of new assets.”
Noblet added, "As opposed to a corporate fleet, the law enforcement fleet is not profit driven, so reimbursement is not an option.” 
“There is so much special equipment necessary for enforcement vehicles," said Scott Nichols, Illinois State Police (ISP) Fleet Manager. "The cost and time to outfit them and de-commission them is a major factor in fleet vehicle replacement, planning, and selection.” 
William Stanley, State of Illinois Central Management Services (CMS) Fleet Manager noted, “State law enforcement fleets can cover a lot of diverse geographies and are not centrally fueled like many corporate or municipal fleets. ISP’s fleet is spread out, so officers have to have gear at hand and ready to mobilize immediately.”
Which KPIs Deliver? Part of determining what key performance indicators are needed for your fleet's operational planning rests on what you want the data to tell you. Some data points will be more instructive than others.
From the start, fleet managers need to know if the vehicles themselves are reliable and affordable in terms of preventative maintenance. Can you assure that these will be in active service, or are they going to require additional servicing beyond the expected wear and tear that these units are most prone to?
Deborah Pratt-Israel, CAFM, Public Works Analyst for City of Vancouver Equipment Services, Vancouver, Wash., said there are several indicators that are seen as industry-standard. “The indicators we want to see are: downtime by vehicle year, make, and model; downtime by vehicle class; downtime by Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards (VMRS) code; period costing of repairs by vehicle year, make, and model, by vehicle class, and VMRS code; fuel economy; recalls by vehicle year, make, model, and vehicle class; idling; unique equipment installed in the vehicle; and if there's a high rate of accidents with vehicle.”
Brochtrup added, “You should also factor in repeat work, those items which are not caught during regular preventative maintenance work, which you subsequently have to address within 14 days of PM completion. If a vehicle type has multiple instances of this, you will find you have to pull vehicles out of service not once, but twice." Such double-work is costly for any fleet, but particularly so for vehicles like police cars where downtime can be unacceptable.
Another KPI that is unique to the law enforcement realm concerns added equipment, or "upfits." Whereas a work truck for a company can leave all added features intact when disposing of a vehicle - extra storage and shelving, equipment to increase accessibility, etc. - everything must be stripped clean from a police car, truck, or van before sale. Plus, all that added equipment adds complexity to decision-making because added weight and bulk affects fuel-consumption, tire wear, how robust a vehicle's suspension needs to be to get the necessary performance requirements, and the overall costs when all that has to be removed. Is any of that equipment reusable? If so, make sure compatibility is another "must" when replacement vehicles are chosen.
What Next? Developing a list of data points is one thing, but unless that list is turned into activities that save money and improve efficiency and utility, it's merely anecdotal information. 

Stanley and Nichols analyzed their KPIs and turned them into action. “CMS Fleet lowered turn-in meter requirements for ISP enforcement vehicles based on KPI data comparing older and newer model year vehicle maintenance and repair costs, as well as considering other benefits of faster replacement," Nichols said.
“The data was compelling," said Stanley. "[Results] called for a change in the replacement policy for increased efficiency. As an example of data driving policy through analysis and collaboration, CMS and ISP agreed to switch from a sedan-based ISP fleet to a mix of sedans and SUVs. That provided increased operational efficiency and support to our state troopers. ISP and CMS collaborated and agreed that data supported the change, and our policy now reflects that.”