The Greensboro City Council is once again considering providing Greensboro police officers with take home police cars – but “considering” is the key word.
At the City Council budget work session on Tuesday, May 25, the council finally got around to looking at some numbers.
Financial and Administrative Department Interim Director Marlene Druga presented estimates of the cost to the city for providing the Police Department with 100 additional vehicles over a five-year period. The estimates ranged from $1.4 million in Year 1 for 20 vehicles to $2.7 million in Year 5 for 100 vehicles.
City Councilmember Yvonne Johnson asked if other cities had seen a reduction in crime after they implemented a take home car program.
Greensboro Police Chief Brian James said that the cities in our immediate vicinity, Winston-Salem and High Point, have both had take home cars for over 20 years, so it would be difficult to make any comparison.
Councilmember Sharon Hightower expressed concern that too many take home police cars would be going to the northern part of town and not enough to East Greensboro.
Councilmember Justin Outling asked if this was the best use of city resources to reduce crime.
Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann said, “I don’t see any particular benefit.”
James said that it would save the Police Department a “tremendous number of man hours” that are now spent at the beginning of the shift with police officers looking for their assigned car and then transferring all their equipment to that car.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said, “The officers I’ve talked to think it is a huge benefit.”
She said that the take home car “becomes their mobile office. They can set it up like they want it and it makes them more effective.”
Vaughan added, “We are surrounded by communities that have take home cars. There must be a benefit to it.”
James said that Greensboro had been considering take home cars since 2005, and he added that it extended the life of a patrol car because they are not being driven seven days a week, sometimes as much as 20 hours a day.