How the city’s Fleet Services Department keeps Knoxville Police officers on the road

Behind the Badge

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It’s not hard to imagine the weekly wear and tear police cruisers are put through. From high-speed chases to driving in all types of weather conditions, these high-tech and high-performance vehicles are put to the test.  

“They put them through the wringer so to speak. It’s not like your average sedan running back and forth to the grocery store,” says Knoxville Fleet Services Department Director Nicholas Bradshaw.

It’s his department’s job to make sure the Knoxville Police Department’s fleet of cruisers and other vehicles are ready to roll at a moment’s notice.

“We’ll do about 3,700 to 4,100 work orders a year on police units,” Bradshaw tells WATE 6 On Your Side. “So, we’ll do those preventative maintenance appointments and get those ready. And then sometimes stuff goes wrong. Something happens or something breaks and we have to do a repair.”  

It’s during those times that Bradshaw says his department knows how important it is to get officers back out on the road. Just like when a dealership sets you up with a loaner vehicle, his crew can do the same. 

“I think waiting 30 minutes for a service is one thing, but if it’s going to go to 2 hours, that officer is going to want to be back out in the field doing their job,” Bradshaw said. “So, we have a backup fleet for those situations.”

Bottom line, keeping the cars ready for whatever officers demand is priority No. 1 and this crew knows it. They have been named one of North America’s best at what they do two years running. 

“People throw ‘(matter of) life and death’ around a lot, but in this case, it’s the truth,” Bradshaw said. “Our guys are supporting them in the background and making sure they have the tools they need in terms of vehicles and equipment so they can do the job to the best of their ability.”    

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