'A nationwide issue': How supply-chain problems affect suburban police, fire fleets

  • The Des Plaines City Council this week agreed to purchase three fire department vehicles, but they'll cost nearly $28,000 more than originally planned because of supply shortages.

    The Des Plaines City Council this week agreed to purchase three fire department vehicles, but they'll cost nearly $28,000 more than originally planned because of supply shortages. Daily Herald File Photo

 
 
Updated 9/22/2022 12:51 PM

Supply-chain issues that have limited the availability of new passenger cars, trucks and SUVs in the suburbs and across the nation are affecting public safety departments, too.

The Des Plaines City Council this week canceled the planned purchase of three SUVs for the fire department because the manufacturer told dealers to stop accepting orders. Officials found a different vendor with available vehicles -- but they'll cost the city nearly $28,000 more than planned.

 

Mundelein, Lombard and other communities have faced similar problems.

The Des Plaines council had voted in March to purchase three Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicles from Currie Motors of Frankfort for $104,841 through a suburban purchasing program. They were to be used as administrative vehicles.

Officials subsequently learned Ford had instructed dealers not to accept new orders for 2022 models and wouldn't be taking orders until prices were set for 2023 models.

"The ability to purchase these vehicles is a nationwide issue," Fire Chief Daniel Anderson and Deputy Chief Sam Foster said in a memo. "Vehicle manufacturers are struggling with supply issues and have either cut production windows or stopped making certain units."

Fire department officials searched for other avenues and found success with a state program offering 2023 Ford Police Interceptors. They will come from Sutton Ford of Matteson and will cost $44,211 each.

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"As anticipated, Ford increased their prices by nearly $10,000 per unit," Anderson and Foster wrote.

The city council canceled the first contract and approved the new one as part of its consent agenda Monday. There was no public discussion of the plan.

Mundelein officials have been waiting for three overdue police squad cars and a dump truck to be delivered, Public Works and Engineering Director Adam Boeche said.

"We have not been provided a timetable on those by the manufacturers," he said.

Officials did buy two new administrative vehicles off a dealer lot, Boeche said, but they had to change some specifications -- and buy from the last model year -- to make the deal.

"Finding anything reasonably priced on a dealer lot is incredibly challenging," Boeche said.

The Lombard village board authorized buying six Ford Police Interceptors for the police department from Currie Motors in March -- but the order wasn't fulfilled due to production and inventory issues. Still in need, the board voted last week to buy six Interceptors from Sutton Ford as an emergency purchase for $232,338 -- nearly $6,200 more than the original quoted price.

Buffalo Grove and Batavia officials reported longer-than-usual anticipated delivery estimates for public safety vehicles, too.

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