Behind every vehicle and piece of equipment owned by Sarpy County is a crew dedicated to making sure it’s working properly.
The skilled members of the Sarpy County Fleet Service Department do more than perform routine maintenance.
The department’s mechanics custom design and build snow plow frames on dump trucks so the Public Works Department is ready when the snow flies. They retrofit standard vehicles into patrol units used by law enforcement. They make necessary repairs, like replacing blades on the mowers used to keep county property well-maintained.
In many ways, the department, which operates out of a shop near 84th Street and Platteview Road, allows other county departments to provide seamless service to residents.
“If we’re not here to fix the equipment, you’re pretty much at a standstill,” said Fleet Manager George Funderburk. “My staff is valuable not only for their skills and knowledge, but also for their willingness to take on jobs when it’s 25 below out and they’re laying under a motor grader fixing a hose or a chain.”
Safeguarding county assets
Fleet Service helps maintain more than 400 pieces of county equipment and nearly 1,000 individual components.
The fleet includes pickups, vans and sedans used by various county departments, but also equipment like dump trucks, excavators, chainsaws, mowers and ATVs.
The fleet even includes a military-grade Humvee and search and rescue boats, all used by the Sheriff’s Office.
The components include the computers, cages, ticket printers and two-way radios in patrol units as well as fire extinguishers, which are in all county vehicles.
Lt. Dennis Svoboda with the Sheriff’s Office said patrol units get a lot of wear and tear. The vehicles are often left running for hours at a time at accident scenes and they’re driven on all kinds of terrain.
When the Sheriff’s Office has a problem, Fleet Service addresses it quickly, so deputies can get back to work keeping citizens safe.
“Routine maintenance with these cars is so important because we’re driving on gravel, through fields, through medians and through ditches,” Svoboda said. “Fleet Service is great. They do a great job for us and we’re lucky to have them, without a doubt.”
Last year, Fleet Service performed a total of 885 preventative maintenance services, which includes things like oil changes, inspections and adjustments.
During the same time period, the department made 1,164 repairs on county vehicles and equipment and “upfitted” 26 vehicles for use by the Sheriff’s Office.
In addition to the permanent shop, the department uses service trucks that are essentially mobile shops. Mechanics can drive these trucks to other locations and perform any necessary cutting, welding or repairs on site.
“They’re really a lifeline for us, particularly during snow removal time,” said County Engineer Denny Wilson. “Our vehicles break down and sometimes require assistance on site. Fleet Service goes out and fixes tires, changes batteries, whatever it takes. They’re a very efficient operation.”