Ask The City – Why Do Police Cars Sit Unused Around the City?
Why has the city police car been sitting in the same spot on sheridan a couple blocks east of Washington Park for atleast the last 4 months? It seems like a waste of city resources to have a car not being put to use.
The City's Response:
This is a take-home patrol vehicle belonging to one of our midnight shift sergeants, which could possibly explain why you haven’t noticed obvious movement, since this officer has been working shifts over the past 4 months. The take-home vehicle program provides several tangible benefits including being able to rapidly deploy police officers in an emergency. Other benefits include visibly marked police cars in neighborhoods that might have a deterrent effect on speeding or other criminal activity as well as additional patrols to and from an officer’s residence when that officer is going to or returning from work. A take-home patrol vehicle may sit in front of an officers house over an officer’s three day weekend (or possibly a four day weekend if they take an extra day off) but if the officer were on vacation for over a week, he or she is required to leave the patrol vehicle at the Police Department for security reasons. Officers are not allowed to use their take-home patrol vehicles for errands when not working and only are authorized to go to and from work or to vehicle service appointments. Within these parameters, the vehicle is an asset and enhances the safety of the community whether it is being used by the officer or is just sitting in a neighborhood, especially at this location.
This car actually drove 2,518 miles during the last 4 months. Its driver handled 44 calls for service as a primary officer, many more as a supervisory and/or back up officer, effected 47 arrests, and wrote 46 citations. The department works in a 24/7/365 world that is often overlooked. While the car is parked out there in the daytime, coupled with downstream enforcement in the schools zones, it serves as a very effective deterrent for traffic violations for very little operating costs.
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