Alderman Challenges Police Cruiser Take-Home Policy
City council members see its police department’s cruiser take-home policy as corrosive to the city’s budget. The police department has a fleet of 38 cruisers and, according to the Harrison Daily Times, officers with the department are allowed to take them home at the end of their shifts.Alderman Tom Arnold said that the policy is antiquated and not supportive of the city’s past and current budget restraints. Purchasing and maintenance costs are primary concerns. Maintenance costs to the fleet rises as the vehicles age. In 2002, maintenance topped $51,000, up $32,000 from 1999. It cost the city close to $30,000 to purchase a fully equipped cruiser.Arnold proposed changes to the de-partment’s personnel policy that would prevent officers who live outside the city (over half of the department) from taking units home. Seven of the department’s 38 vehicles have been driven over 140,000 miles, while over half of the city’s unmarked units have traveled over 150,000 miles.Officers contend that they take better care of the vehicles when they’re taken home and that the privilege boosts morale. A greater benefit is the faster response time to incidents that occur around the city.