Monday, November 24, 2008

LMPD Take Home Car Program Costs

WHAS-11 has a report on the demise of the low-cost "take-home" car program for the Louisville Metro Police Department. Since the mayor announced the city was experiencing budget woes, officials have been looking for ways to cut spending. There are four (4) plans now under consideration to address the rising cost of the take home car program that would increase the cost of participating anywhere from $160 to $210 a month.

It has been my opinion that the police department should double-up officers in some (not all) cars and review the possibility of returning a few cops to a smaller, specific beat on foot, thereby saving money and getting more involved in the community at the same time. My experience has been when you see someone pulled over, there are at least 3 cars on the scene, each with its own officer. There should be two officers in every car on traffic stops. Also, the "cops on horses" unit as well as the four-wheeler cops need to be cut out completely. Get those guys with high seniority some desk jobs.

Instead of cutting the budget for police protection the LMPD must find a way to cut costs and remain visible, while staying out of the pockets of the police officers. "Community policing" would be my solution. This way the department solves the problem of take-home cars by eliminating them for everyone and having more officers in the communities they serve. Whatever happens, I hope the officers are satisfied with the outcome.

Watch the WHAS-11 report HERE.

Update 11/24/08 11:35am: Fox 41 and others are repeating this story as "Less Police on the Streets". This is not true, and is an oversimplification of the issue. It means less CARS on the streets. The number of police officers will not change. Have no fear.


  1. With less cars on the street there would be an appearance of less officers. When you double up officers in cars you have one less car on the street to respond to emergencies.

    Police presence is a deterrance to crime no matter how it gets spun. In essence the more police you have in cars patrolling the more visibility we have and potentially less crime. Do not forget that we have no money for more officers so the cost of a take home car is small in the grand scheme of tings.

    Can we do better with routes? Yes we can but the answer is not less take home cars.

    Also check out the Louisville budget and you will see that the police over the last 3 years have been UNDER budget by $35 million.

    Take home cars are not the problem. Pipe dreams by Abramson are.

    The Metro budget is fascinating when you see where our money really goes.

  2. Yes, at first there would be the "appearance" of less officers. But there would not be less officers. There won't be more crime just because they don't all have their own police car. A crucial part to this equation would be to return police to the walking beat. That puts them in a position to be IN the community and get to know the people, and letting the people get to know the police.

    Today there are simply too many police in too many separate cars. This creates a logistical problem. Double them up, and put the rest on a walking beat. Watch the crime rate drop. At least give it a shot...what do we have to lose?

    Yes, there is a money problem. But let's take this opportunity to realign police priorities, and save a little money along the way.

  3. Really...A Walking Beat...My first beat was 56 square blocks. Even in my younger days it takes a bit to walk 56 blocks. Now I cover a beat which takes 25 minutes to drive across (Code 3). You really think I can do that? The shooting victim will be cold by the time I arrive. I agree that fiscal responsibility is required, but walking is out. In the mean time, go enjoy another beer.

  4. I stopped on my way to court this morning. There was an elderly lady, by herself, broke down in the fast lane on Cane Run Rd. I used my emergency lights to cut through traffic to get through her. Then I protected myself and her with my vehicle while I made sure she got off the road safely. Without my car, she would have sat for probably 45 minutes while onduty officers finished their school traffic details. By the way, Thanksgiving is this week. I am thankful to have a job. While you are eating turkey, I'll be working a 10 hour shift. No dinner with my family this year. Make sure you're thankful that I'm protecting you instead of helping scoop cranberry sauce into my 1 year old daughter's mouth.

  5. I appreciate and respect your opinion, however, I find it is somewhat flawed.
    Firstly, we are assigned specific beats already. Secondly, if you think we are wasting money by driving seperately, then us responding to the numerous lengthy hour long reports would be twice as inefficent as we would be tying two officers up rather than one. Morever, 1 officer per car allows for more coverage on a specific beat than two riding in the same car. The only situation where I see this system as being viable is on traffic stops and domestic calls where most police officers are killed. However, these types of contacts comprise maybe 1/3 of our shift, the other 2/3 we are patrolling proactively or responding to calls that only require one officer.

    Finally, with the mayor most likely refusing to hire future recruit classes that will save tons of money. With our economy headed towards a depression, which means more desperate people, and the state cutting convicts out early, the presence of the cars are monumental; as it provides coverage without the cost of having to hire another officer to maintain that presence. No matter how you cut it you are getting coverage virtually for free. As union man I am somewhat disappointed that you would not stand with us on this issue, but it just goes to show how fragmented our socity has become and adds volumes to our motto "devided we fall." No one cares for one another anymore. It would be nice if the middle class could find its voice and learn to stand together and quite beng so independent and divisive.

    I just think it this type of economic environment, you should delay, not cut, programs such as the animal adoption center or even the stadium before you start laying off people or cut into thier salaries, thereby contributing to the problem. (You don't cut jobs to make jobs.) At this point if we need to make more sacrifices then we do.
    None of are saying we are above it but we just think there is other measure that should be taken first.

    I for one only drive my car to U of L and no where else, so I would be happy to park my car. I refuse to pay that much money for something I don't use, the community only gets only a minute benefit out of and I am not gaining equity in. The bottom line is the 4,500 other employees only have to give up three days pay and suffer a hiring freeze. We have to give up 3 days pay or our generic payraise, plus pay for the car! Not only that but we are undergoing a hiring freeze as well which means that we will have to work harder for less. So in effect we are giving up much more.

    All I ask for is equality, for there is nothing more splendor.
    I subscribe to T.Roosevelts saying, "if I must choose between peace and righteousness, I choose righteousness!"

  6. As a union man, I DO support the FOP. I am trying to throw ideas out there for people to debate in hopes of creating some new some initiatives. It should be noted these ideas are to be a last resort in dealing with any budget problems, as there are many ways to save money without endangering public safety.

    I have family that retired as professional fire fighters, and some friends that are current police officers, and I fully understand the sacrifices that are made on behalf of the public, and we all appreciate that.

    I stand firmly with our officers against any charges or concessions for using police cars on a take home basis. And I agree with you that some projects need to be delayed, such as the $30+ million Center City. But if a agreement cannot be reached, the outcome must be the same for everyone.

    That is why I believe this conversation must take explore alternative ways to police the community without being "cheap" about it.

    The city must start cutting at the top first. Eliminate or at least cut the Deputy Mayor positions in half. Spokespersons next. Then look at department heads and their staff. All the political positions should take a pay cut and accept more responsibilities. If the mayor expects police to take a pay cut and do more with less, then he should lead by example. Taking a 10% pay cut is not enough. He needs to take on the "work" of his deputies and spokespersons, and start driving himself around town.

    Again, thanks for participating. We need your input to be successful. Feel free to say whatever you want.

    And Happy Thanksgiving.

  7. What about the officers in Shively, Jeffersontown,St.Matthews,Strathmoor Village,Audubon Park,Bancroft,Hollow Creek,Heritage Creek (Minor Lane Heights,Jefferson County Sheriff's Office,University of Louisville,Prospect,Indian Hills and Anchorage? Are they having problems as well?

  8. I do not agree with reducing the number of take home cars for the police. In my opinion, the Police, Fire, and EMS should be off the table when considering any types of cuts. As it is, when we, (my neighbors and myself), have had to call the police for emergencies, the response times have been horrible. I do not lay all of the blame on the police department. However, I am certain that there are inefficiencies inside of the police department that could and should be improved.

    The poor response times have occurred when serious, life-threatening incidents were in progress. By the time the police finally arrived, it was too late. It has reached a point that I have heard many comment that they are now willing to take the law into their own hands. By reducing the number of cars on the street, this will only spiral further out of control.

    I notice that there are several comments that appear to be posted by some of our finest, I do not say that to patronize, my parents raised me to have great respect for police officers, fire fighters and our EMS. Each has saved members of my family on more than one occassion. Thank you for the job you do.

    I do have a bone to pick with the police however. Why is it that my neighbors who happen to be police officers, refuse to get involved in policing their own neighborhoods? I hear this nonsense about some "code" that you "don't police where you live". That is hogwash. Could you imagine our armed forces taking a similar position? Yes, we have attempted to contact our neighbors in times of trouble, the police officers, and they refuse to help. We have to call in and wait 30-45 minutes for help to arrive. I could understand if we were a rural community, we are not however (Valley Station area).

    Several comments have hit the nail on the head. The budget problems are squarely the result of mismanagement by the bunch we have in city hall. Remember the granite street curbs? I wish the solution were as simple as voting the bums out. We know that doesn’t work because the clowns are still there election after election.
    I’ll offer a few ideas on where I believe the money could come from. 1. Take away the city governments vehicles. All travel must be via TARC, helps stimulate the local economy by having to pay the fare. 2. Stop harassing citizens with ignorant programs like the puppy-gate fiasco with the animal control stings. 3. Cut non-essential personnel as a previous poster mentions, like spokespeople and deputy mayors. 4. Stop catering to special interests and friends. 5. Lets vote for enacting term limits on all local government positions. There is no valid reason to have career politicians. Career politicians are why this community and this country is in the mess we are in. 6. Finally, either fully implement the merger of the city and county or reverse it.

  9. I have to agree that when it comes to public protection, budget cuts should be the farthest from anyone's mind. How about we worry less about "Center city" and more on doing what's right for our daily heroes?

  10. • If you live in Louisville or know others that do PLEASE call the Mayor's office at 574-2003 & your Metro Council person. Let them know you support the police officers not having the additional burden of paying for the use of their Take-home cars. The officers agreed to a contract and will honor it. These officers stop and make runs using these Take-home vehicles while off duty to serve you at no additional cost. They never put in for any overtime or compensation. The on-duty officers could not keep up with the calls for service without this off-duty Take-home Car assistance. This saves you more money than the vehicles are worth.

    The mayor is breaking a contact that all parties agreed on only a few months ago! If he has just now figured out there is a budget problem, the money saving should come from firing his financial advisors. Of course he has been busy having granite curbs installed, giving Cordish 12 million dollars last week without them having any conditions attached, building a stadium that will likely bankrupt the city if he doesn't first, and building more parks. Most of these are fine if the city had any money. All this in as he says "tough financial times." He has 5 Deputy Mayors while New York only has 3! He has his own private security force & you should see their salaries with overtime.

    He violated the Fireman's contract last time he was Mayor and now must pay them OVER 60 MILLION DOLLARS!!!! It should come out of his personal pocket - not from your tax dollars. He intentionally does these things thinking he will be gone before the piper has to be paid but this one and others are catching up with him.

    FOP President John McGuire will be getting out additional information soon but the media has been slow to publish it as not to attack King Jerry. He has previously controlled the media but they will likely catch him on these issues. Your police and fire are united to bring these issues to your eyes. Look for a potential Federal investigation of his administration over city funds!

    Fox 41 has the results of a national survey showing that a Take-home Car Program does provide approximately 15% reduction in crime. If a police officer lives in your neighborhood or rides by your home while off duty, you and your family are safer! There are usually less than 50 on-duty police officers protecting the entire city & county at night!!!! Wait until the criminals find out there will be less police out and available to respond. You are safer because of this Take-home Car Program.

    Your support is needed. Please take a few minutes to make these 2 calls. Ask your neighbors and friends to call, too.