View Poll Results: Is this a good idea?
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Sure, it's thinking outside the box
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01-18-07, 04:04 PM #1
Town council rules their PD will give taxi rides to drunks year round to prevent DUI
SHALIMAR — Town residents now have another service that distinguishes them from folks living in larger municipalities.
If they drink too much or their car breaks down far from home, they can call the Shalimar police. An officer will bring a police car to take them home from as far as 25 miles away.
“Some other people do the New Year’s Eve thing and (the police) were talking, ‘Why do it just on New Year’s Eve?’ We’ve got the capability to do it probably year-round,” said Town Manager Tom Burns. “And not just inebriated people.”
The new service was advertised in the town’s newsletter that was posted online Jan. 2. Cards will be printed up with a special cell phone number and distributed to every resident.
“The Shalimar residents pay for a police department,” said Mayor Gary Combs. “We look for ways to give them more services.”
Many of the town’s 730 residents probably don’t know about it yet. No one has called for help since it went into effect.
“I think that’s a lovely gesture,” resident Chris Larson said when the service was explained to her. “It makes (police) seem more human and that’s important.”
But she worried that some people might take advantage of it, particularly those who wanted to go out and drink without having to worry about driving home.
“I would maybe put a cap on it,” Larson said. “You can’t have more than three emergencies a month or you’re abusing the system.”
Burns said the parameters were loose at this point, but could be tightened or amended if needed.
“If somebody takes advantage of us, we’ll handle that with common sense,” said Burns, who added that the 25-mile radius could also be changed if it proved to be too far. “That was just our first gouge at it,” he said.
Police Chief John E. Cash said he heard at a recent police chiefs seminar that at least one other department offered a similar service, especially during the holiday season. Shalimar is taking it a few steps further.
“We’re going above and beyond that,” Cash said. “I don’t think a lot of agencies do it.”
Certainly, Shalimar appears to be the only local department extending such a service.
“I’ve not heard of anything like that and we certainly don’t have anything that,” said Fort Walton Beach Police Chief Ted Litschauer. “You could have your police officer 25 miles out of town when your call comes in,” he added.
Cash said that if Shalimar’s officers are dealing with an emergency at the time, the stranded motorist would have to wait. The tiny department also has backup from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.
Shalimar prides itself on thinking “out of the box” and doing things that other towns have never considered, Combs said. For example, the town’s equipment – including tractor, trailer and tools – are routinely loaned to residents at no charge.
Folks can also use town hall, which has a kitchen, meeting room and two restrooms, for private functions for free.
“We’re always looking at things the city can do to help the residents,” Combs said. “In most cases, the city has bent over backward to bring them whatever services they want.”
And Shalimar is doing those things while lowering its millage rate, he added.
“I think we’re the only municipality that’s been lowering taxes,” Combs said.
01-18-07, 04:06 PM #2Police Chief John E. Cash
01-18-07, 04:12 PM #3
Wait until some poor copper is 25 miles out of his/her beat and an emergency comes up. How many cops could a town of 750 have on at one time? Ahhhhh........I can see it now puke in the police car.
01-18-07, 04:14 PM #4
I can't imagine a lot of people WANT to ride in the back of a police car, especially when they're drunk and obnoxious. Or if they know the nasty shit that gets in the back seat.
01-18-07, 04:16 PM #5
I wonder what liability the City/Department/Individual Officer might incur by giving a drunk a ride if the officer is involved in an MVA. Seems outside the normal scope of duty to me.
How many of these drunks are going to want to submit to a frisk before getting in the cruiser?*************************"It wouldn't take much for me to up and run...to another life somewhere in the sun."*************************"There's something inherently wrong with having to put on a bullet-proof vest and a gun to go to work."-(An old friend)
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01-18-07, 04:18 PM #6
Back seat my ass! This is a community service. It's the front seat all the way, a complementary cup of coffee and a condom (for later use).
01-18-07, 04:19 PM #7
Since when are the police also public transit? Are they going to be taking Grandma to Wal-mart now too?There’s a promise I need you to make
While I’m gone you take care of the love
And I’ll deal with the hate.
Don’t worry about me; I’ll be all right
Just care for your children and sleep tight
I’ll keep you safe on my watch tonight
On My Watch Tonight - Mike Corrado
01-18-07, 04:22 PM #8
Just wait til an officer pats someone down before allowing them in his car (as they should) and finds something. What a potential mess.
01-18-07, 04:47 PM #9
Hey Beans, get ready to change your signature. This is a taxi cab with lights!
01-18-07, 04:57 PM #10
Okay, I'm probably going to get flamed for my response, but this really irritates me.
Our society seems hell-bent on removing personal liability and responsibility from the shoulders of the individual(s) who SHOULD be responsible. What the hell is wrong with people drinking responsibliy, and if they don't CALLING A CAB OR A FRIEND? If they're too drunk to drive...it's THEIR responsibility to foot the inconvenice and expense..not someone else's!
I have no problem with someone in distress, calling police for help. I'm sure I would if I wasn't sure what else to do, or felt I'd run out of other options. But, our society has too many people standing around with their hands out, wanting someone else to make it easy for them...wanting someone else to take care of them...wanting someone else to assume responsibility for their stupidity, ineptness, and/or irresponsibility.
Okay...that may be an over-generalization, but it just seems to me we lean more and more in this direction all the time. I don't friggin' GET it. NOW, if the idea was to CHARGE them for this service...I MIGHT feel a little better about it. Charge them, and don't make it cheap.
01-18-07, 05:08 PM #11
I don't know about you guys... but my police car sure doesn't say "taxi" on the side of it. Plus, with the rare exception of the suburban soccer mom who breaks down in the ghetto, if they go in my car they get searched and handcuffed (I go home at the end of my shift)
01-18-07, 05:13 PM #12
01-18-07, 05:22 PM #13
I think this is a great idea--a town with only 730 residents is likely to not have any commercial taxis or public transportation at all. It's probably just a little rural village surrounded by cornfields and sheep, and if people get drunk they often have no choice but to drive home or commandeer a sheep. So having the police give drunks rides is a vital service (that will probably cost less in time, money, and lives than trying to catch the drunks after they start driving).
A lot of drunks probably have no friends or family who are not themselves also drunk, or have no sober friends or family willing to come out to the bar at 3 am to pick them up.
I do agree that the police should be paid for the taxi service. Better yet, the town should have public transportation (which would be better for the environment as well).
01-18-07, 05:23 PM #14Originally Posted by Jenna
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Last edited by Terminator; 01-18-07 at 05:39 PM.
01-18-07, 06:22 PM #15
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01-18-07, 07:25 PM #17No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13
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01-18-07, 07:39 PM #18
A town I worked for tried this once. I gave one guy a ride home 15 miles away and that was it. I called the city attorney and said I wont do this anymore. A town with one cop cannot provide that service. All you need is one emergency call and wtf are you gonna do. Then you get into the whole, if the guys that drunk are you spose to be like a Dr. what if he passes out or is so drunk he hurts himself at home or worse dies whos ass is on the line. Or you giving him/her a ride home and hit something like a deer or a drunk hits the car and injures the passanger....This is a bad idea to make this a policy. This is small town policing at its finest. I bet the bar will have one patsy to get a ride home every night at 130 or whenever the bar closes then the cop is tied up and everyone else drives home. Bad Chief Cash bad idea to let the drunks run your town.
01-18-07, 08:43 PM #19PATROL DEPUTY
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What do you expect coming from a small ass town. I used to work for a small town and we ahd two old ladies that would call to turn off the TV or close the icebox, or pick them up off the floor. For some reason they though it was the Sheriff's dept job. I would just call the ambulance and even they would get pissed for being called out. They wanted the depuites to pick up the ol'ladies. Small towns = b.s
01-18-07, 08:44 PM #20PATROL DEPUTY
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