published Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

City Council says police officers need to keep cars


by Cliff Hightower
Audio clip

City Council meeting - 01/18/2010

The City Council voted 5-4 Tuesday night for the city administration to bring back a plan next week that would keep some police take-home cars on the road.

"Come up with some money to do that," said Councilman Jack Benson, who made the motion.

The resolution calls for the administration to give the council a recommendation that would pay for those officers who live within the city to keep their take-home cars. Part of the resolution also calls for the administration to come up with a plan that would allow those officers who live in the county to pay only their way to the city line.

The motion came as the city administration announced that police officers will be required to park their cars Thursday in three designated lots -- one on Amnicola Highway, one on 11th Street behind the old Farmers' Market and another on Main Street.

Councilmen AndraƩ McGary and Manny Rico, along with Councilwomen Pam Ladd and Sally Robinson, all voted against the measure. The vote came after heated debate about whether to allow the police department to accept donations to keep the take-home cars.

Police Chief Bobby Dodd said before the regularly scheduled meeting he is not in favor of the idea because he is the designated person to round up the money.

"I'm not in the business of taking donations," he said.

WHAT'S NEXT

Mayor Ron Littlefield will come to the City Council meeting next week with a proposal about how the city can pay for take-home cars of those officers who live in the city. He also will include an alternate proposal for paying mileage to the city limits for police officers who live outside the city limits.

Councilwoman Carol Berz said she believed the city could look at the budget and find the $500,000 required to keep the patrol cars in officers' hands.

"I say we do it in professional fashion rather than bake-sale fashion," she said.

Benson then made a motion for those who live in the city to keep the cars, and Councilman Russell Gilbert added an amendment including those who live outside the city.

Paul Page, the city's director of general services, said the city is putting a fence around the lot on 11th Street and patching a fence on the lot on Main Street. He said both locations would have video cameras and key cards.

He said the cost to the city would be about $20,000 annually.

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dendod said...

Finally I read something the City Council did that made sense. Those that voted against the measure for the administration to come up with an alternative to parking the cars should be ashamed. I pray every night before I go to bed that the day Mayor Ron Littlefoot leaves office will "come quickly". We need some common sense injected into our City Government.

January 19, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.
anderson2010 said...

Cry me a river CPD..So you arent going to get to drive your vehicles home. How many abuse this situation? If you were just driving from work to home and vice versa I would not have a problem with it. How many times have I seen CPD cars in the car line at school, at the grocery store on an off day, or better yet at the mall with the family? Parking your vehicles at the end of a shift is not that big of a deal. I firmly believe that it will save me & a lot of other taxpayers not allowing the cars to be taken home. If the CPD is so worried about their gear and so forth being left in the vehicle overnight that just proves that not only can they not protect their own property much less our city..Please get a life. Suck it up..Just because you are an officer, doesnt mean that you get a take home car.

January 19, 2011 at 10:12 a.m.
Nohbdy said...

"Cry me a river CPD...Please get a life. Suck it up...."

That pretty much proves you don't understand their problems...

Having their vehicles goes further than just "convenience"; the most basic form of crime deterrence is officer presence, which can mean something as simple as having a car sit in a school line. A convenience store with a cruiser parked outside is much less likely to be stolen from, people are going to darn well watch their speed in a school zone if they see a cruiser in the line. When an officer goes off duty and parks his vehicle in the city lot, his effectiveness ends there, if he takes the car home and/or to pick up kids, dinner, or whatever; he is still passively helping the area through presence and quick access to emergency services or tools needed in case of an emergency. That's well worth the $500k(which I believe is more than it really costs, but I'm not on the budget committee).

I pay taxes and would rather see CPD using their vehicles openly to show the city that they're out and about even when off duty.

They're saying the issue is budgetary; that is the fault of the city's budget managers, not the officers. Taking their ability to use the vehicles as openly as before will make the city as a whole less secure.

It seems like the area in general is losing sight of why they have police in the first place and are picking away at the force until they're nothing more than security guards with tasers. It's unfortunate that they cannot go on strike.

January 19, 2011 at 4:25 p.m.
lonestar said...

Would the city council be open to suggestions to help with this issue? Example: Let the officers (especially those in task force, etc.) that are presently living within the city limits take home their cars at no charge & those who live outside the city limits pay a small fee. Encourage & entice (with incentives) those officers living outside the city limits to move into the city. We would benefit greatly from more officers living in the city since that is where they are needed most.

January 19, 2011 at 4:58 p.m.
Allison12 said...

Crimshaw, I get I. Enough is Enough. Another recall to state specs, but still cannot be rid of them until August 2012. His term ends March 2013, early is better than not at all. This admin. is corrupt to a level they should not be stewards of public money, make NO mistake about it.

January 19, 2011 at 11:27 p.m.
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