The City Council is scheduled to consider “take home” cars for the Greensboro Police Department (GPD) at the Wednesday, Nov. 17 meeting.
The item is at the end of a long agenda under “Matters to be Discussed by the City Manager (If time permits).”
Although the item is attributed to Interim City Manager Chris Wilson, it is actually Mayor Nancy Vaughan who requested that this item be added to the agenda.
At the Tuesday, Oct. 19 meeting, Vaughan said, “I’d like council to reconsider the vote on take-home cars.”
Vaughan noted that one reason she wanted the matter to be reconsidered was that the GPD had recently lost two officers to the High Point Police Department where take-home cars are provided.
In June Vaughan had attempted to have funding for take-home police cars included in the 2021-2022 fiscal year budget and she met a solid wall of resistance from her fellow members of the City Council.
Councilmembers Tammi Thurm, Goldie Wells, Marikay Abuzuaiter and Yvonne Johnson all spoke against providing police officers with cars they can take home.
Greensboro Police Chief Brian James has explained to the City Council that not only is it a convenience and a cost savings for police officers, having take-home cars would also result in officers being able to spend considerably more time patrolling each shift. James said that under the current practice of shared cars, at the beginning of each shift officers first have to find the car to which they have been assigned, stow their gear in that car and then set the vehicle up for them. He said that when you consider the number of officers and shifts, the time adds up.
Factors that may have caused councilmembers to change their minds about take-home police cars in the past couple of months include the fact that city currently is rolling in excess funds. There is the $59.4 million in American Relief Plan funding the city has not spent, plus tax revenues were higher than projected.
But more importantly, the City Council primary is less than four months away and it appears public safety is going to be major campaign issue.