The North Florida Shop (NFS) is an efficiently staffed facility critical to the continued cost effective, mission driven performance of the FWC Division of Law Enforcement. As part of the FWC DLE Fleet and Technical Services Section, seven full time employees work collectively to accomplish the DLE’s mission-specific vessel and vehicle rigging requirements, maintenance tasks, emergency repairs, disaster response and vehicle and vessel overhauls. This group of trained technicians is certified in several subject matter areas such as marine outboard repair, fiberglass manipulation and repair, welding, fabricating and custom vehicle and vessel rigging.
Their motto is “Keeping our officers patrolling safely in the woods and on the water.” FWC officers are responsible for uniformed patrol and investigative law enforcement services on more than 8,400 miles of coastline, 13,200 square miles of offshore waters, and more than 34 million acres of land encompassing a variety of habitats including wildlife management areas, state parks and forests. The NFS team rigs every incoming vehicle and vessel prior to its distribution to the field, ensuring that it meets the exacting specifications that each of the 853 FWC officers around the state requires to fulfill the agency’s vital public safety and natural resource conservation mission.
- Save money by performing the vast majority of needed services in house, rather than outsourcing work at a costlier hourly rate.
- Deliver timely services in order to keep officers working in the field with operational equipment.
- Extend the life of vessels through extensive vessel refurbishment. When it is cost-effective and deemed appropriate, NFS staff completely overhauls the hull and components at a fraction of the cost to extend the life of FWC vessels and save the agency time and money.
- Negotiated with major marine manufacturers to achieve dealer status, providing the State of Florida dealer pricing and considerable cost savings on major items such as outboard motors.
- Respond with officers to disasters in Florida, which enables officers to stay on patrol when situations exist where no infrastructure is in place. During Hurricane Hermine, NFS technicians were embedded within region squads to perform any needed repairs to critical vehicles and vessels during the rescue/recovery phase of the emergency. NFS technicians have worked out of tents and slept in service trucks to support disaster response operations.
- Provide continuity of service for all installations and repairs. Should an issue with any repair or installation arise, NFS technicians understand the proper and most efficient ways to correct it, since work begins and ends there.
- Engineer and develop custom solutions to meet the unique demands of the FWC DLE mission. Cost estimates indicate that, if these custom solutions were outsourced, the agency would pay nearly three times as much for these solutions. Examples of this work include a temporary Class I feline transport solution for seizing and transporting large cats such as lions and tigers, mobile helicopter landing pad and custom alarmed/locked rifle boxes.
- Innovate solutions that make officers safer and their equipment perform more efficiently, such as the shift lock override mechanism developed and installed in all patrol trucks to prevent vehicle theft.
- Perform the majority of work on location, to keep officer travel and tow time minimized and maximize mission readiness statewide.