I haven't had the time to delve deeply into either the ACS Parking contract, or the 2011 proposed budget for the city-county. However, one aspect that has been talked up was the take-home car policy.
Councilor José Evans (D-District 1, also a mayoral candidate on the Democratic side) issued a press release announcing that Mayor Greg Ballard's proposed budget would eliminate the take-home car program from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. Two blogs (here and in the comments section here) have raised doubts on what exactly the plan is going forward.
We are facing tough times within the city-county, and it isn't unexpected. Cities across the United States, from coast to coast, have slashed budgets, sometimes cutting into vital city services. And take-home cars seem like a luxury.
But, in general, I'm supportive of take-home cars for city-county law enforcement, which in Marion County, is IMPD.
So let's look at take-home car programs in other city-county departments, including the Sheriff's Department. The Marion County Sheriff and his deputies are in charge of the jails, securing the City-County Building, maintaining the sex offender's list, and a few other administrative duties. To me, there isn't a whole lot of emergency situations that could arise in the daily tasks that the Sheriff's Department handles, so their take-home car program should be one of the first on the chopping blocks. That also goes for every other non-IMPD department that has a take-home car program (which hopefully, isn't that many).
IMPD's officers will need to get to emergency situations often, and if that means providing them a working car, so be it. Now, if they live outside of the county, maybe some regulation or some type of fee might be permitted.