FORT SMITH, AR - Fort Smith Police Chief Kevin Lindsey has proposed a change to the city's take-home vehicle policy that would make more city vehicles available to police officers, according to Fort Smith Times Record.

In August 2008, city officials learned 93 vehicles were being used by employees to commute between home and work, amounting to $77,500 in fuel costs alone. As a result, 87 percent of take-home vehicles were cut, reducing use to only 10-12 vehicles.

During a study session Dec. 8, Lindsey asked that vehicle assignments be reinstated for all employees who had take-home vehicles before the August 2008 policy change as long as they live within 25 miles of their primary workplace; and that employees living outside of the 25-mile limit but otherwise are eligible for a take-home vehicle could pay $25 a month for the assignment. He said the change, which would put more than 50 city vehicles back into play - including an average of 20 seized vehicles used in undercover work - would improve the police force's morale, reported the Record.

According to a cost-comparison table, a citywide policy change would make 116 vehicles available and would result in a net fuel cost of $60,984, or $80,484 minus employee payments of $19,500. Other costs would include increased maintenance, more frequent replacement of vehicles, a larger fleet and higher employer taxes.

The Police Department would use 52 of the 116 vehicles, resulting in $8,100 in employee payments and net fuel costs of $22,341, reported the Record.