It turns out the third time was the charm.
After Mayor Nancy Vaughan brought up providing Greensboro police officers with take-home police cars for the third time at the Wednesday, Nov. 17 City Council meeting, it passed unanimously.
When Vaughan brought the issue up in June, she couldn’t even get a second to her motion. So Vaughan was able to pick-up eight votes in five months.
Although the vote in the end was 9-0, in the beginning it looked like the vote could go either way.
Vaughan said that providing the Greensboro Police Department (GPD) with take-home police cars “would help with recruitment, retention and efficiency.”
Police Chief Brian James was interrogated by councilmembers who clearly did not want to vote in favor of beginning the process of providing take-home police cars for officers by approving the purchase of an additional 20 police cars.
Councilmember Yvonne Johnson said, “I want to see equitable distribution of police cars across the city.”
Councilmember Sharon Hightower said, “I agree with you. I don’t want to see all the cars go to west Greensboro.”
Hightower added later, “It’s a concern they are not going to be in my district.”
James said, “It’s really hard for me as chief to legislate where people live in the city.”
James noted that one of the big issues was that the law enforcement agencies all around Greensboro already provided take-home cars for their officers.”
Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we are losing officers every day to surrounding communities.”
James noted that the Police Department was really short staffed and making up for the lack of patrol officers with overtime and with detectives putting on uniforms and going out to answer calls. He said from an efficiency standpoint, a patrol officer spent about 80 hours a year simply transferring equipment from their personal vehicle to their patrol vehicle and that was 80 hours they could be spending doing police work.
Councilmember Justin Outling asked for figures on how much crime reduction could be expected by providing police officers with take-home cars.
James said that since the departments around Greensboro had been providing take-home cars for over 25 years, any impact it had in the crime rate “is probably undetectable at this time.”
Just to add fuel to the fire, Financial and Administrative Services Director Marlene Druga gave a report on the financial aspect of buying 20 additional police cars, which included financing a new $32 million maintenance garage for the nearly 2,000 vehicles the city owns.
The initial purchase to start the process of providing take-home cars is 20 police cars this year. The plan calls for an additional purchase of 20 cars for five years.
City Manager Chris Wilson explained that the $32 million new city maintenance garage would be needed with or without the purchase of 20 additional police cars.
What he didn’t explain was why that issue was being brought up in the discussion about take-home police cars.
In the end, Johnson and Hightower decided they could vote for the 20 additional police cars even though too many might end up parked in driveways in west Greensboro.
And Outling decided he could vote for it even though he wasn’t given an exact percentage on how much the crime rate in Greensboro would be reduced by having an additional 20 police cars.
Your headline is disingenuous. Think about it citizens of Greensboro. Our city council wants to take 5 YEARS to provide a benefit that every other local agency has had for decades. They also want a report on the “effectiveness” of having the cars at officers houses. And two of the council members do not want officers to live in west Greensboro. They want them to live in their crappy districts, that they refuse to adequately provide police service through addressing vacancies. East Greensboro (the area in which I grew up and my family still lives there) has voted for the likes of Johnson and Hightower for years. Where has that gotten you? High crimes rates.
Watch the entire meeting. The consent agenda gave away millions of dollars without discussion. We are talking about vehicles. Never mind their BS salary adjustment for police that will not take affect until December (months after they voted). The only transfers of city money that happens in a hurry are those that go to their cronies and fellow council members. How about asking for Cure Violence to provide an effectiveness report as the murders inch up towards 50.
We will remember at voting time council. We know the council members that continue to vote against the police. Your districts are driving the crime statistics in the city. The very persons that you fake advocate for are suffering from a public safety deficit, especially when the vacancies continue to rise. Keep making Greensboro the place for potential officers to NOT want to work.
I ask my fellow commenters, what other issue has the council taken FIVE years to implement? Do they take 5 years to keep the coliseum or GPAC out of the red? To give money to the IRC? To float money to DGI? Tax breaks for developers?
People have to realize the vehicles are the symbol. The real issue is that through attrition and political environment the council is defacto defunding the police. Even if you have issues (as I do) with the problems that are publicly known with policing, you need to realize those that suffer the most from understaffing are the poor and disadvantaged. Not me sleeping in my house on the side of town that Hightower obviously loathes.
Nor did they take 5 YEARS to give themselves a 50% raise that the taxpayers have no say in it should have been put on the ballot at election time and give us an opportunity to vote for it.
Police defunding has hurt the one’s who live in very poor neighborhoods and low-income housing more than anybody! People in these neighborhoods where the crime rate is higher need FAST response times. I agree with all of your statement.
Well said. They clearly don’t pick their battles to align with public sentiment.
Elections must be coming up. So disingenuous and purely for show. What a disgrace, to spend tens of millions on a performance arts monument and fund concilmembers nonprofits but refusing for years to properly fund and recruit desperately needed rank and file police officers.
Well it’s about damn time. It’s long over due. You can’t expect people to do an efficient and timely job if they don’t have the tools to do their job. Wasted time also cost money .
So… In 5 years GPD might have enough cars for a take home car program…
highwater what a joke of a council person I remember a few months ago she wanted less policing in her district but if she thinks her district gets less than others it immediately becomes a race issue. She’s such a racist. And as far as funding for the cars let’s ask johnson to give back the 900k of taxpayers money she was given without any taxpayer input. That will pay for several new cars.
I’m highly suspicious of the timing of both this issue and the resignation of Michelle Kennedy. It seems they are finally sensing dissatisfaction with the leftward direction of this city council, and they are trying to paint a new face on it before elections next year.
Throw the bums out. Except Justin.
Do not kid yourself. They will turn as soon as their seats are secured four more years. This is all for show. It does not make a difference because officers will leave before they ever get similar pay and benefits as surrounding agencies.
Will, you are correct about Hightower. Which is it? Over policing or wanting all the police to live in her district. Does anyone on that council have the intestinal fortitude to make a motion to fully fund take home cars? Put the others to a direct vote without an hour of conversation over a couple of million dollars while they consent agenda multiple millions every meeting 9-0 without discussion.
Yeah, it is getting close to voting time and this is suppose to make the people happy. What would really make the police happy are cars NOW, external carrier vests to get most of the 30lbs off their waist, and a lot better salary . I agree with most of the others on this page , time to vote the right way and get people that will represent the citizens of Greensboro and not just a select few . And the Kennedy deal still needs to have a closer look….
As long as they live in the city there should be no problem. Having these cars in the city MIGHT even provide faster response time in many cases. A city the size of Greensboro needs MANY take home cars in my opinion. FUND our police and save lives!
Justin-your question surprises me-who could tell you the answer at this time-and that is not the point, anyway.
Too many police cars parked in West Greensboro????……….Racist thinking to start with……not surprising but disappointing all the same.
You can tell it’s election time. Thurm was against before she was for.
Tony Wilkins for Greensboro City Council District 5. Endorsed by the 600 GPD members of the Greensboro Police Officers Association and four former GPD Chiefs.
Tony, not fully funding the vehicles is still a vote against. I agree the vehicles should “live” within the city of Greensboro. Since Hightower is so concerned about the location of the vehicles when off duty, she could make a motion to give a pay differential for officers that live within the city limits. You would be amazed the number of officers that live outside the city. This issue had been brought to Chief Miller’s attention (encouraging officers to live in the city with vehicles and/or extra pay) and he scoffed at the idea. People are more invested in the community in which they live.
Nothing to do with police cars in Gso. Go fund me pulled the Kyle Rittenhouse page offline looking to figure out how to help him. Anyone with any ideas.
I read that Go Fund Me is now allowing contributions for KR, because he was found not guilty.