Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Take-Home Cars and the City-County 2011 Budget

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.


  1. MCSD take home cars are considered compensation and benefits, IMPD's are issued equipment. If MCSD loses take home cars the deputies who lose them will get a sizeable raise. That raise will cost the taxpayers more over the same number of years that a take home car would be in service. I don't work for MCSD and in my career have never been issued a take home car, but the facts don't like. Take home cars save money by making the vehicles last longer.

  2. but the facts don't lie*. My spelling mistake has been corrected. Additionally, I think any agency with take home cars should consider making officers pay fees for the cars. There are agencies who do this (South Bend for one) and the fee helps offest insurance and fuel costs. If I'm ever issued a car and have to pay a fee to use it off duty I really don't have a problem with it.


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