COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA, CALIF. – “I built that one! I built that one too!” Jason Pacheco excitedly tells his wife as he passes a Santa Clara County Sheriff patrol vehicle on the side of the road. Pacheco is part of the County of Santa Clara’s Facilities and Fleet Emergency Vehicle Upfit Team. This skilled team is comprised of experienced mechanics who turn ordinary cars from the dealership into the high-tech, crime fighting vehicles the residents of the community see on the road every day.
The process, however, is not easy. The team orders the vehicles from the manufacturer and customizes nearly everything. The list of modifications includes decals, electrical equipment, cameras, computer equipment, lights, sirens, amplifiers, PA systems, docking stations and all the controllers.
The entire vehicle upfit process takes about 60 to 120 hours and uses roughly 700 to 1,000 feet of wire. Every single customization is done with thoughtful consideration for functionality. At the top of the list is officer safety.
“We base everything we do around officer safety,” said Jabbar Tucker, one of the equipment installers. “We pride ourselves on it. Knowing we provide this service for our officers and the community makes me feel like my job has value.”