FT. WAYNE, IN - The Fort Wayne Police Department has rescinded the biweekly fee it imposed in 2008 on officers who take home their squad cars - unless gas prices rise above $3 a gallon, according to The News-Sentinel.
In a June 4 memo to his department obtained by the Sentinel, Police Chief Rusty York York wrote: "An agreement has been reached between the City of Fort Wayne and the Patrolman's Benevolent Association. As a result of that agreement, effective immediately, all deductions for fuel will cease and officers will be allowed to use their home fleet vehicles for personal use."
The deal does not completely eliminate a fee, but calls for a $25 fee to be imposed when gas prices rise above $3 a gallon, and a $50 fee if prices exceed $4 a gallon, the Sentinel reported.
The fee was originally prompted after gas rose to more than $4 a gallon in summer 2008. York, overseeing a department that spends about $1.6 million on gas for cruisers, made the decision in early 2009 to charge $25 in each two-week pay period and $30 for officers who live outside the city to help offset the costs, according to the Sentinel.
Officers could either pay and have personal use of the car, or use the car solely for work and not pay the fee.
The take-home car program, which currently has 419 take-home vehicles, was instituted in 1994 with a goal of deterring crime by making cruisers more visible. In the program, officers can pay or keep their cruisers parked at their homes or at designated locations when off duty.