Police Chief Wants Officers To Take Patrol Cars Home...City Council Defers Action

July 4, 2006
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police Chief Gus Clemente wants the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to adopt a vehicle take-home policy for officers of the police department.

Under the proposal, each officer, who is already assigned a patrol car to drive while on duty, would get to take that cruiser home after work.

Some members of the city council have reservations about that proposal since most of the city police officers reside outside the city.

Under the proposed policy, only officers living within a 25 mile radius of the corporate city limits of the City of Smithville would be allowed to drive the police vehicles home. All other officers would park the vehicles at the police department headquarters.

Chief Clemente says the goals of this policy would be to promote the security of the citizens of Smithville by greater visibility and presence of vehicles on the streets and highways; provide quicker response time to certain types of calls and therefore increase the opportunity to apprehend criminals; reduce the yearly mileage on each vehicle, therefore increasing vehicle life; reduce maintenance cost on each vehicle in the fleet; provide quicker response of off-duty personnel when called back to duty because of an emergency; provide increased incentive and morale of officers participating in the program; and maintain vehicles in top condition through preventive maintenance and personalized assignment.

Members of the council agree that the policy could provide for quicker response time by some officers in the event of an emergency, but others argue that it will add to the city's fuel cost and potentially increase liability.

Some also question how that there could be greater visibility and presence of patrol cars on city streets, when most of the city patrol cars would be outside the city, when driven home by officers who live outside the city.

The city board voted unanimously Monday night to defer action on the proposed policy until the next meeting on Monday, July 17th at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

In other business Monday night, Mayor Taft Hendrixson appointed himself as the city's representative and re-appointed Clay Farler as a citizen member to the City Planning Commission.

Steve Hays was reappointed to the City Beer Board and Lloyd Black was named as a new member of the board. Beer Board terms are for five years.

Wade Smith and Jimmy Ervin were reappointed as members of the Smithville Board of Zoning Appeals.

Mayor Hendrixson appointed himself as the city representative on the Industrial Development Board. Hendrixson, who was already on the board as a citizen member, appointed Richard Judkins to fill that position. Alan Webb was also named to the Industrial Board to fill the vacancy created by the death of his father Norval Webb.

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