ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – Rising gas prices may be part of the reason there’s been a recent change in the St. Louis Police Department’s policy regarding take-home police cars.
Currently, there are about 200 police take-home vehicles, but that number is likely to dwindle drastically, and it is one cost-cutting measure that has people divided on whether it’s putting public money over public safety. This is a public concern because many believe that having a visible police presence, even with unmarked cars, is good for neighborhoods.
Fuel costs are expected to be about $800,000 higher next year, and St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom says he’s looking for ways to save money. There’s talk about pulling take-home cars from all but about 50 officers – those ranking captain and above – and other on-call individuals like hostage negotiators.
Officers who no longer get a take-home car would drive their personal cars to the station and get into a patrol car. Concerns from officers include wasted time finding parking spaces in already crowded lots, and also lost time transferring gear.
Officers have not yet been briefed on the potential changes. The fiscal year begins July 1, but it’s unlikely that any changes will be in place by then.