Monday, January 28, 2013 at 8:45 a.m.
Boss at the Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) want to extend a 2010 undercover vehicle rental contract worth more than $1.1 million annually through February 2014 without additional competitive bidding.
County supervisors will consider the request at their Jan. 29 public hearing in Santa Ana and, given the lucrative size of the deal, there's no doubt the owners of Enterprise Rent-A-Car are hoping for approval.
When undercover deputies use vehicles like a Toyota Prius, Mazda CX-9, GMC Yukon, Ford Flex, Ford Expedition, Chevy Suburban or Infiniti G35, Enterprise gets $1,030 per month per vehicle.
The department must pay more than $952 per month to rent a Ford Mustang, Dodge Durango, Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, KIA Borrego, Nissan Murano, Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota 4-Runner.
At $780 per month, the cheapest undercover rentals include Nissan Xterra, Toyota RAV4, KIA Sorento, Jeep Liberty, GMC Canyon, Ford Escape, Dodge Dakota, Chevy Colorado, Toyota Camry, Pontiac G6, Mitsubishi Galant, Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Impala, Dodge Charger and Buick La Crosse.
The OCSD also demands a minimum of seven utility trucks, eight extended cab trucks and 10 minivans with six cylinders, low mileage, air conditioning, power windows and door locks, AM-FM radios and dark tinted windows.
Enterprise is required to have a minimum 10 makes and models (preferably with muted colors) available to be swapped each day.
Money for the undercover rentals comes from the regional narcotics suppression program, federal grants, contract city charges and narcotics asset forfeiture revenue.
Department officials say the deal allows undercover officers (or dignitary protection deputies) to quickly and frequently change vehicles to keep their identities masked from criminal suspects, and "is the most efficient and cost effective" use of taxpayer funds.