Vehicle Maintenance

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This directive is for internal use only and does not enlarge an employee’s civil liability in any way. The directive should not be construed as creating a higher duty of care, in an evidentiary sense, with respect to third party civil claims against employees. Violations of this directive, if proven, can only form the basis of a complaint by the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office for non-judicial administrative action in accordance with the rules and laws governing employee discipline.
DIRECTIVE TYPE: Policy SUBJECT: Vehicle Maintenance NUMBER: OPER-321.01
APPROVED BY: Sheriff Ken Christesen EFFECTIVE DATE: 7/17/2016
NMLEA STANDARDS: Not Applicable LAST MODIFIED: 5/16/2017 LAST REVIEW: 5/16/2017


As detailed in the Use of County-Owned Vehicles Policy, the Sheriff’s Office provides county-owned vehicles when needed as well as take-home vehicles to eligible employees. Because the proper maintenance of an employee’s vehicle is directly linked to safety, this policy establishes uniform guidelines for the proper maintenance of county-owned vehicles operated by Sheriff’s Office employees.


County-owned vehicles assigned to and operated by San Juan County Sheriff’s Office employees shall be maintained, repaired, cleaned, and serviced to keep vehicles in a safe operating condition and maximize longevity. To ensure that vehicles are maintained properly and in a safe operating condition, preventive maintenance, and routine inspections will be conducted.



The Sheriff’s Office operates numerous vehicles throughout the agency and among multiple divisions/units. For accountability purposes, the following assignments shall determine responsibility for vehicle maintenance/cleanliness:

  • Employees assigned a county-owned vehicle are responsible for their assigned vehicle.
  • Specialty unit vehicles (SWAT, CIT, etc.) shall be assigned to an employee within that unit by the unit supervisor.
  • When an employee utilizes a spare or fleet vehicle, the Sheriff’s Office considers that vehicle assigned to that person for that time. Under these circumstances, employees are responsible to inspect, report, and/or turn-in any vehicle needing maintenance or repairs. Any damage found or occurring to a spare or fleet vehicle will be promptly reported to the employee’s immediate supervisor and the requirements set forth in the Sheriff’s Office Use of County-Owned Vehicles Policy will be followed.
  • The Sheriff’s Office equipment technician holds the general responsibility for fleet, unused, and spare vehicles.

Employees should inspect their vehicle for damage and/or maintenance requirements before each shift. Inspections of county-owned vehicles will be completed by Sheriff’s Office supervisors according to the appropriate division. During each shift rotation, patrol supervisors will perform a minimum of one formal documented inspection of all assigned vehicles. Employees not assigned to a rotating shift should have a formal inspection of their vehicles by their supervisor a minimum of two times a year. This inspection will be documented on the Sheriff’s Office Inspection Form and retained for annual employee evaluations. Supervisors may informally inspect vehicles as needed to ensure vehicles are operational and maintain a professional appearance.


Any employee responsible for a county-owned vehicle is required to submit a request for maintenance and/or repairs, in writing, on the Sheriff’s Office Automotive Repair Order, when required preventative maintenance is due (as set out in the preventative maintenance schedule), or when vehicle repairs are needed. The Automotive Repair Order will be filled out and submitted to the inbox for service and fleet maintenance. No work will be performed without an Automotive Repair Order being completed.

It is the responsibility of the immediate supervisor to ensure that an employee assigned a county-owned vehicle follows the required preventative maintenance schedule and vehicle repairs are completed as necessary. This is done through the regular inspections.

All weapons will be removed from vehicles turned in for service. When service is being conducted with the deputy present, all weapons must be secured in a locking device.


Employees will not install personal equipment, remove county-installed equipment, or otherwise alter a county-owned vehicle without prior approval. If an employee wishes to install personal equipment, remove installed equipment, or alter an assigned county-owned vehicle, the employee will forward a written request to the Support Services Lieutenant detailing what changes the employee wishes to make and why. The Support Services Lieutenant will bring the request to the Sheriff or Undersheriff. A response of approved, not-approved, or other recommendations will be noted on the request. A copy of the request will be kept in the requesting employee’s administrative file. Minor alterations to equipment layout may be requested and approved through mechanics or the Support Services Lieutenant. No alterations requiring the installation of, or modification to, equipment wiring or drilling may be performed by an employee. These alterations must be completed by a Sheriff’s Office mechanic or an approved vendor.


All Sheriff’s Office employees who operate a county-owned vehicle are responsible for ensuring that the vehicle is kept neat and clean in appearance. Proper vehicle cleanliness includes the exterior, the interior, the trunk, and engine compartments of the vehicle. This should not be necessary every day and exceptions can be made for extreme weather.

Each employee is responsible for making sure their vehicle is decontaminated (properly cleaned with necessary biohazard chemicals) after incidents in which the vehicle becomes contaminated. A vehicle is considered contaminated when:

  • an individual, prisoner, or non-prisoner releases bodily fluid (blood, urine, vomit, feces, etc.) into the vehicle interior; or
  • a chemical agent or contaminant is released or detected inside a vehicle.

The following procedures should be followed when cleaning a contaminated vehicle:

  • Proper protective equipment should be used while performing the cleaning task. Equipment should consist of at least a pair of disposable gloves, and, depending on the circumstances, may require the use of a mask and protective eyewear. For personal safety, employees will follow the safety recommendations directed by the cleaning solution label.
  • All individuals involved in cleaning a contaminated vehicle are to wash their hands with soap when the cleaning is finished. Soap is provided by the Sheriff’s Office.
  • Disposable cleaning materials will be disposed of in containers labeled “biohazard”. The purpose of this container is to warn others of the potential hazard associated with the waste and that the container should be handled with care. A biohazard container is located at the main Sheriff’s Office near the forensic drying room.

All gloves, masks, cleaning, and sanitation supplies are provided by and kept at the Sheriff’s Office and substations.


  • ENGINE SERVICE – Oil and oil filter change will be changed every 5,000 miles. Air filter and all fluids will be checked every 5,000 miles.
  • TIRE ROTATION – Tires will be rotated every 5,000 miles.
  • BRAKES – Brake system components will be checked every 5,000 miles.
  • TRANSMISSION/TRANSAXLE SERVICE – Check individual unit transmission service card for service mileage.
  • DIFFERENTIAL SERVICE – Done on an as-needed basis as determined by a Sheriff’s Office mechanic.


  1. SJCSO Policy OPER-320.00 “Use of County Owned Vehicles”
  2. Ford Scheduled Maintenance Guide
  3. Chevrolet Owner’s Manual