Greensboro police officers won’t be getting take home cars anytime soon, following action taken by the City Council at the June 1 work session.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan lobbied hard in favor of providing police with take home cars but appeared to be alone in her support. Vaughan noted that it would extend the life of a typical police car from three or four years to eight years.
The cost estimates provided by the city staff included $16 million to $18 million for a new city maintenance garage.
Vaughan asked how adding 20 police cars in the first year could require the city to build a new maintenance garage.
Assistant City Manager Larry Davis said that the city needed a new maintenance facility whether or not the Police Department added more cars, but having 20 additional police cars would accelerate the need.
The cost estimate from the city staff also included both the cost of buying the additional cars and the cost of the Police Department leasing the cars from the city as well as the cost of hiring an additional technician to maintain the 20 brand new cars. The staff, however, did not include the cost of the kitchen sink.
Vaughan noted that all the jurisdictions in the area provided officers with take home cars, which made Greensboro “an outlier when it comes to take home cars.”
Vaughan said that in recruiting police officers, “This is something that is considered a very large benefit.”
Councilmember Goldie Wells said, “It seems like the building inspectors don’t have enough cars to go around.”
Councilmember Sharon Hightower said, “The cars would be going to north and northwest Greensboro.”
She added, “This is not something I can support right here, right now.”
Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter said, “This is not something that I think we should look at right now.”
Councilmember Tammi Thurm said, “I’m not ready to support this yet.”
Wells also said that she didn’t understand why providing take home cars was necessary and said, “At this time I don’t think this should be at the top of our list.”
Councilmember Yvonne Johnson said, “Right now, I could not support this as it is.”
City Manager David Parrish said that take home police cars would not be included in the budget and Vaughan agreed that it did not have council support.
When you consider that the city is currently rolling in money because it just received over $29 million in American Rescue Plan money and will receive an additional $29 million next year, if the City Council doesn’t think it can afford to provide take home police cars this year, it is not because the money is not available.