OAKLAND, CA - Putting more cops on the street isn't Oakland's only crime-fighting problem - the city isn't having much luck getting its new squad cars on the road, either, according to www.sfgate.com.
Dozens of brand new Ford Crown Victoria police cars have been sitting idle for months at the city's corporation yard, waiting to be outfitted with lights, radios, cameras and computer equipment.
As of last week, there were still 40 cars collecting dust at the yard on Edgewater Drive, more than half the 69 patrol cars that began arriving seven months ago.
"We would like to have them all out there on the streets right now. ... We need the cars," said police Capt. Eric Brasheers, the department's fleet administrator.
As a result of the shortage, some officers driving around in cars with 100,000 miles on them that require maintenance have been forced to double up.
"It doesn't happen all the time, but it does happen," said Bob Valladon, president of the Oakland Police Officers Association.
Bruce Saunders, the city's assistant director of public works, oversees the corporation yard where the new cars are being outfitted. He says his crews are working as fast as they can to turn out the new, high-tech Crown Vics.
"These are basically a new generation of vehicles," Saunders said. "The testing period took much longer than the Police Department had scheduled."