Friday, August 1, 2008

Does Driving Less Make Us Feel Safer?

We'll refrain from making a joke about how this might be good for Dunkin Donuts:

From HoCo PD:

In an effort to cut back on fuel consumption due to rising costs, the police department is announcing mandatory conservation measures, effective Aug. 1.

“Reducing our use of fuel is the responsibility of all members who operate a county vehicle,” said Police Chief William McMahon. “Of course, this mandate is not intended to impact the performance of employees’ assigned duties.”

All employees were instructed to reduce their fuel consumption by five percent. A three-month baseline average was provided to each employee with an expectation that reductions would be evident by Sept. 1.

McMahon says he expects the reductions to come from less off-duty use, more fuel-conscious driving behavior and other common sense conservation methods.

“Service to our citizens is our absolute top priority,” McMahon said. “In no way will we allow these cost-cutting measures to negatively impact service.”
Employees who do not achieve the five percent reduction in any month will be required to explain why the goal was not met.

The chief also announced changes for employees who serve in certain on-call assignments, including a discontinuation of take-home cars for some out-of-county personnel. These programs will continue, but may no longer include take-home cars for all the people who staff them.

In this situation, employees who are called out will be paid the current mileage rate for the distance between their residences and police vehicles, as well as the return trips home.

Police will place limitations on assigning additional vehicles to employees who reside outside of Howard County, regardless of assignment. There also will be new restrictions placed on vehicle usage for police supervisors, such as sergeants and lieutenants.

Operators of shared patrol cars are expected to take part in the fuel reduction efforts by limiting idling time to operational needs, avoiding unnecessary driving and improving driving behaviors while operating in non-emergency modes.

These mandates are the first fuel saving measures being implemented by the police department. While further actions and restrictions may be necessary, the agency is committed to not sacrificing the service it provides to the public.


Anonymous said...

Five percent seems really low compared to how much these county-owed and paid-for cars are being used for PERSONAL business by county employees. The cars should be available to ON-DUTY cops only. Cops who live 20 miles out of the county should not be using my tax money to drive around when they are NOT serving the County

Anonymous said...

Is it true that there are only 198 cops assigned to actaully patrol our county, but over 276 cars are assigned to police personnel to drive where ever and whenever they choose?

How can we be paying for more cars than there are cops assigned to the streets?

Mrs. Diane Jones-Wyatt
Harpers Choice

Anonymous said...

This won't impact Dunkin Donuts one bit! There has been no real change in how the cops are allowed to drive their cars. My brother is a cop and he told me this was just a publicity stunt for Mr. Ulman. They will be at Dunkin Donuts just at much and at Chick-Fil-A even more, because Chick-Fil-A gives the cops a big discount, so they all drive and hang out there.

Just one more example of "much to do about nothing".

I'll feel safer when they put more police cars ON-DUTY on the streets.

If you want to keep the wanta-be gangs out of the village center, put a Chick-Fil-A there so the cops hang out more and scare off the punks.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean the cops are going to stop driving like jerks, in a hurry to get nowhere?

Does it also mean they're going to cut back on the multi-patrol-car speed traps?

I'll believe this when I see it.

Anonymous said...

I know that cops serve to protect us 24/7 and they risk their lives doing so. Sgt. Wheeler died on a howard county roadway last summer. But none of this changes the fact that cops are human, and humans take advantage of all things. I applaud the Police Chief trying to gain control of all those police cars being used so very much for the exclusive benefit of the cops.

Let's pay the cops a fair salary and not try to give them personal use cars. What do we pay our cops now?

Anonymous said...

Our cops make more than most people I know. The average cop takes home over $70K and works just 16 days a month. We aren't Baltimore City or PG County, our cops are risking their lives every day. We pay the police bosses over $1ooK and give them unlimited use of brand new cars. We pay for the car, the insurance, the maintenance and the GAS. These police bosses do not respond to calls or work the streets, they work at desks and use the cars for personal use only.

Let's make sure that the cars are only for work.

Anonymous said...

Off duty cops don't even stop to help citizens.

I sat broken down on Brokenland Parkway for 2 hours and counted three different police cars drive right past me without even slowing down. I was clearly in need of assistance. They didn't care.

I see crazy drivers on Rt. 29 everday and the police cars ignore them and even zip past them both in uniform and off duty.

We need to equip our cops with cars when on-duty only when we can hope they will do their jobs.

Anonymous said...

It is time the Police chief uses the high tech abilities to more closely hold the officers accountable for how THEY drive. He can monitor how fast they drive and he can act on it, but he is controlled by the FOP, and Mr. Ulman wants the FOP to help get him elected to his next office.

Too much politics, too poor control over police ethics and performance.