Police Take Home Car Controversy

The new year means a new fee for many chattanooga police officers.  They will soon have to pay to take home their patrol cars.  While the city says it’s simply a budget issue, the some officers fear its putting citizens safety in jeopardy.

It’s a decision that’s been tossed around for years, but it’s never before come to this.  That officers will either have to pay to take their cars home, or drive personal vehicles to work.  One officer says it will definitely play a part in their police protection.

In just a few weeks, Chattanooga Police officers will have to pay to take their cars home.  Sgt. Craig Joel with the Fraternal Order of Police says, “This will be the biggest expense ever levied on the police department, every police officer will be affected by this.”

Sgt. Joel says he refuses, and will instead take his personal car to and from work.  Which means he, along with other officers won’t be able to handle problems they pass off duty.  “If we are in our uniform we are obligated to act and we do every time, I can’t tell you how many times I have stopped to and from work, whether it’s a car wreck, a burglary.”

Sgt. Joel says the bigger issue is the swat team and other specialized units that come to your home straight from their home.  “Those officers in those driveways, those are your swat members, your traffic officers that respond 24/7 to the greatest emergencies presented to your city, if anything life or death comes up these are the people that respond then and there from their home.”

He understands that take home cars are a privilege but says their department’s presence helps cut down crime.  Meanwhile, the mayor’s spokesperson explains the city council decided this issue this summer, and says the officers can either opt in or out of the plan.  Spokesperson Richard Beeland says, “I think there will be people upset about this policy and there’s nothing we can do about that but they do have the option not to have a take home car.”

He says it’s taken months to figure out how much to charge.  But yesterday the city sent out a memo, saying it will be 20 cents a mile if you live in the city or 30 if you live outside the limits.  Richard Beeland says he understands the concern, but says someone must pay for the use of the vehicles.  “We’ll just have to wait and see what kind of response time and what kind of statistics this brings, but there is a cost associated with them taking the cars home.”

This new policy will affect all city employees with take home cars, not just officers.  It will go into effect on January 13th.






The breaking news, Police Take Home Car Controversy citation from News Channel 9

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Posted by on Dec 23 2010. Filed under World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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