Government Fleet Top News

Debate Over County Police Cars vs. Subsidized Personal Vehicles for Law Enforcement

November 9, 2005

HILO, HAWAII — An advisory panel has found that Hawaii County would save $169,485 if police were to switch from unmarked subsidized personal vehicles to a fleet of county-owned marked patrol cars, according to the Associated Press. The county currently pays each officer up to $587 per month to drive his or her own car. Big Island police officers are currently responsible for buying their own patrol vehicle, maintaining it, and insuring it.According to the Police Fleet Implementation Working Group’s draft report, buying 293 specially equipped patrol cars would cost $111 more per car per year. However, the county would save $2,658 a year on each of the 76 non-patrol cars through fleet ownership, the report said.However, Police Chief Lawrence Mahuna does not agree with the findings and said that the panel ignored costs associated with fleet ownership, overstated how long the vehicles would last and overlooked the need for a reserve fleet, according to the Associated Press. Mahuna also said that switching to a patrol car fleet would remove an incentive to apply to the department and hurt recruitment efforts.The county owns just 37 of 376 vehicles used by the police department, and pays for liability insurance, one gallon of fuel for every 10 miles of driving on duty and a quart of motor oil for every 500 miles driven.

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