The Longboat Key, Florida, Police Department will add seven new police vehicles to its fleet. Agency officials hope the purchase will improve officer retention and make the department a more desirable place to work.
Eliminating the "Hot Seat"
The addition will bring hybrid vehicles to the fleet, and eliminate the “hot seat” situation the department currently has. “Hot seating” is the practice of using a police vehicle 24 hours per day, seven days a week. When one officer closes a shift, the departing officer immediately passes off the vehicle to the incoming officer, thus keeping the seat “hot.” The department currently has 11 hot-seated cars in its fleet.
The purchase of new vehicles was initially planned for the start of the next fiscal year in October, according to the town manager. However, staff found out there were five hybrid police vehicles available sooner. Due to ongoing supply chain issues, the department opted to make the purchase sooner.
The total cost for the addition will be $637,000. That includes the cost of the vehicles, in-car cameras, car cradles, and patrol car mobile data terminals. The funds come from the Sarasota Infrastructure Sales Tax Fund — money that is already there. It will not have any serious impact on the fund moving forward, the town manager told the Sarasota Observer.
The town commission also approved a memorandum of understanding between the department and the Southwest Florida Police Benevolent Association to create a contract making significant changes to wages and benefits for officers.