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  1. #1
    Jenna's Avatar
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    Local governments reconsider take-home police cars

    When a late-night gas explosion damaged more than 80 homes in an Indianapolis neighborhood last month, many off-duty Indianapolis police officers rushed to the scene to help."A lot of those officers came and got there so quickly," says Bill Owensby, president of the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, "because they had take-home cars."Owensby says "operational readiness" is one of many benefits of police officers having vehicles they can take home. But early next year, many of those Indianapolis officers will begin paying a fee for those cars.
    Darrel Stephens, executive director of Major Cities Chiefs Association, which represents leaders of the 63 largest law enforcement agencies in the United States, says many larger departments have in recent years examined or adopted cost-sharing policies or other restrictions on take-home cars."Departments, because of fiscal constraints, are being asked to curtail the use of take-home vehicles, or are taking them away from some officers or charging fees and setting limits on off-duty use," said James Pasco, director of the National Fraternal Order of Police, the USA's largest police labor organization.Pasco says he understands the motivation behind such debates but thinks a narrow focus on dollars-and-cents doesn't account for valuable intangibles of take-home vehicles, such as the ability of officers to quickly respond to incidents, even when they're off duty, and the crime-deterring effect of having more vehicles visible in a community."This is not a privilege," Pasco says. "It really is about maximizing response times and the ability of officers to be where they need to be."In some places, such as North Miami Beach, Fla., the discussion already has resulted in ending the take-home policy for most of the department's roughly 100 police officers, city spokesman Mark Perkins says.He says officers still are assigned cars but leave them at the station at the end of their shifts.Other cities, including Indianapolis, are taking a less drastic approach: allowing officers to continue taking home their police cars but charging fees to cover gasoline and maintenance associated with personal use.In Louisville, new officers must work for three years, instead of only one, to get a take-home vehicle, according to Chief Steve Conrad. That is a provision of a new policy that took effect in November that also assesses officers with take-home cars a gasoline fee if their vehicles are used for a second job.
    Take-home police cars may be nearing end of the road

  2. #2
    Jim1348 is online now Rookie
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    Local Governments Reconsider Take-Home Police Cars

    This is a topic that comes up from time to time. While there might be a short term savings in some places. I think some studies have shown that assigned vehicle are better maintained and cost less in the long run. It is pretty easy to get some political mileage out of it, however. A politician can tell the voters:

    -Charge For Take Home Cars

    -Eliminate Defined Benefit Pensions

    -Make Cops Have An Unpaid Lunch Break

    -Pay More For Their Health Insurance

    Last edited by Jim1348; 12-31-12 at 06:10 PM. Reason: Details

  3. #3
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    I worked for a small agency and a large agency with take home vehicle policies. We were limited in their use to on-duty only, and responsible for maintenance. The vehicle was to be parked with over 1/2 full of fuel. The vehicle was to be driven to the office and parked there while on leave.

    The IRS took a try at taxing us on the "value" received, and the IRS lost. IRS went after utility workers, cops, fire-fighters, and other people subject to emergency call-out 24/7.

    My neighbors liked the "company car" parked nearby for the deterrent, some who didn't like cops did not like it, but becoming a crime victim usually adjusted their attitudes. I never had a problem with my marked vehicles being a criminal target, the weapons were not there. Many of my years were plainclothes and our vehicles were contract purchased from car-rental companies, or asset forfeitures, with cold plates. Same rules and policies applied, no problem except my company car was stolen with the radios and my 'ninja' gear on an official trip to Oregon. Nothing identifiable as police 'stuff' was in view and the stuff was locked out of sight per dept. policy, or in my hotel room. Nothing recovered except the SO and USFS found my slam-hammered door and trunk locks and ignition locks on a forest road about 10 miles away.

    Politicians like to be viewed as 'responsive' to outrages and abuse of office. Some of them like to generate the outrage so they can be 'responsive', with their comrades in the media as lap-dogs. You can bet they do not drive home in, and park a marked car with "congress" or "mayor" on the doors in front of their law office or home. They get a police escort and official driver. Those who piss and moan the most, are deflecting or providing a 'red herring' issue to cover "something else". Take home emergency vehicles are established,, and it is a win-win for all. Recall votes are effective in removal of some political parasites, from public and union offices.
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  4. #4
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    Had a Fire Captain living next door to me for a spell. Nice folks, friendly to strangers, even to me. One morning I went out and saw all four tires were slashed on his SUV by some punk who needed his ass kicked through his teeth.

    I haven't really thought about take home units beyond that, though I'm all for people using the same car each shift. Simply wondering what the vandalism rate is for take homes. Plug that in vs the reduction in crime in a neighborhood and it's probably still better for the taxpayers, not making an argument, mere curiosity.

  5. #5
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    I understand that starting up a take home car program costs a ton, and understand departments not beginning a program.

    However every study ever done on take home cars shows that the life of the cars is much longer and with much less maintenance overall with a take home car than with pool cars, thus being a less expensive option. Of course, politicians can't be bothered with facts, and would rather be seen as a savior putting out fires that don't exist.

    When I had a take home car for 5 years at my old department, I had it keyed up one time. It actually worked to my benefit, because I was still fairly new, and the car was a second hand one with all sorts of dings and scratches. I got a nice, shiny new paint job out of it.
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