CCPD tightens policy for take-home vehicles
Cape Coral police officials are expecting to save a substantial amount of money with a change to the department’s take-home vehicle policy.
On Wednesday, the CCPD restricted its employees’ personal use of their vehicles. Employees now can only stop off at the grocery store or the local gym if the stop is within “a reasonable direct route” of official business.
“Something related to the work place,” Interim Police Chief Jay Murphy said Thursday.
For example, if the store or gym is on the way home, an officer can stop. The officer cannot visit a store or gym located on the other side of the city, nor can they hop in their vehicle on their day off and use it to run errands.
Murphy said the big push behind the change is savings.
“It’s all about the money,” he said. “Any dollar you can find.”
City departments have been under fire to rein in their expenses.
Murphy added that the union is in support of the change, as well as the affected CCPD employees. He said the officers are “keenly aware” of how sensitive the topic of take-home vehicles is for the city and its citizens.
“We want them to have their cars available to them,” Murphy said.
In September, Florida Gulf Coast University’s Southwest Florida Center for Public and Social Policy released the results of a study on the department’s take-home vehicle program. Police officials asked for the study in reaction to instructions from the city council and city administration to find cuts.
The study found that the current program is least expensive option.
It also revealed that a percentage of vehicle use was for personal reasons.
According to Murphy, every two miles costs the city one dollar. The new policy change is anticipated to save “a couple hundred thousand dollars.” He added that it will affect about 75 percent of the department’s employees.
Though no specific penalties are outlined for those who violate the new policy, Murphy said punishment could consist of a mark on their record or having to park their vehicle at CCPD headquarters for a period of time.
In response to budget concerns, the agency also recently switched from a traditional roll call to an electronic roll call. Rather than physically checking in prior to the start of a shift, Cape officers simply log in using a work laptop.
Murphy would not put a figure on the cost savings of that change Thursday.