INDIANAPOLIS – Soaring gas prices are forcing the City of Indianapolis to look at ways to cut fleet costs. The budget shortfall due to unexpectedly high fuel prices is projected to top $4 million by September. Republican City-County Councilor Ben Hunter has formed a bipartisan study group to look at options, according to www.wthr.com.
A couple of options include adding more hybrids to the fleet and changing the rules on take-home vehicles, most of which are police cars.
According to fleet services, about 1,650 IMPD officers have take-home vehicles. City policy allows them unrestricted use, meaning officers are free to use them off-duty. Having cruisers parked in neighborhoods or at shopping centers is considered a crime deterrent.
Officers have been asked to turn off the engine and roll down the windows when filing reports.
IMPD is not the only department facing changes because of soaring gas prices. Westfield is also considering a surcharge for take-home cars, while Bedford is looking at doubling up in cruisers and starting a walking patrol.