A donation made to the city of Kearney, Nebraska, will allow the city's police department to begin the process of adding approximately 30 vehicles to its fleet so the department can begin a take-home vehicle program.
A grant of nearly $3 million dollars from a local private foundation will allow the department to begin implementing the program, which will take approximately 18-24 months.
Attracting Officers with Take-Home Vehicles
The city hopes the program will attract new officers as the department recruits and retains officers during a "competitive and challenging time for law enforcement across the entire state and the United States," according to a press release.
In Nebraska, the only known mid-size agency similar to Kearney providing a take home police car for uniform patrol officers is the Bellevue Police Department. The Nebraska State Patrol and most County Sheriff’s Offices, including Buffalo County, provide take-home vehicles.
The city also noted that the program can be seen as a crime deterrent because it provides a known police presence in an employee’s community.
The program also provides the ability for officers to quickly respond to emergencies from multiple areas within the city and the potential to save money on vehicle maintenance and repair.
Slashing the Repair Budget
The estimated cost per vehicle including emergency lighting, police radio, computer, radar, camera, weapon mounts, storage, prisoner transport cell, associated electronic equipment, and outside vendor upfitting is $75,000 - $80,000 per vehicle. The police department typically budgets for the replacement of five police vehicles per year, totaling approximately $250,000 within the capital equipment budget.
This program will permit a two-year pause on the replacement schedule, saving approximately $500,000 over the same period.
The department will resume the replacement schedule to sustain the take-home vehicle program through the capital equipment budget, replacing five vehicles per year based on a data driven replacement schedule, factoring in mileage, engine idle hours, maintenance cost, vehicle assignment, and overall condition of the vehicle.