Supply chain issues prompt sheriff’s office to buy its own jet skis

The agency used to lease jet skis for its marine patrol unit, but now local marinas don’t have enough, said Sheriff Rick Behnke

By Suzie Ziegler 

CASS COUNTY, Mich. — A Michigan sheriff’s office is buying its own jet skis after supply chain issues made it too difficult to equip its marine patrol unit, Leader Publications reported on Wednesday. 

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office used to lease jet skis from local marinas, but supply chain issues have created a shortage of available watercraft, Sheriff Rick Behnke explains. Now, the agency has been approved to spend $41,000 on two personal watercraft. 

Behnke says the personal watercraft are an important part of the agency’s marine patrol unit.  

“They are able to catch other personal watercraft that are in violation, which our other boats cannot. They also are quicker in response to people in distress on the waters,” Behnkhe told Leader Publications 

Police departments nationwide are struggling with supply chain issues related to the pandemic, particularly when it comes to patrol cars and other police vehicles. According to the Daily-Journal, pandemic-related closures slowed production of microchips, hundreds of which are needed for a single vehicle. At the same time, demand for electronics and vehicles increased, leading to a microchip shortage. 

The effects are being felt by police departments across the country. Some agencies are experiencing long, indeterminate waits to receive their vehicle orders. The Kankakee (Ill.) Police Department ordered seven Ford Explorers a year ago, but officials say it’s anyone’s guess as to when the cars will arrive. 

“Never in the past have we faced an issue like this,” Chief Robin Passwater told the Daily-Journal. “In the past, we were able to tell them what we needed and, in a few months, you got them. It was a normal transaction.” 

Other law enforcement leaders in Illinois echoed Passwater’s frustrations. Alan Swinford, Chief of Police in Manteno, Ill., says he has three vehicles on order. 

“We’re not holding our breath,” Swinford told the Daily-Journal. “Just getting them would be a victory.” 

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