McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

February 2, 2012

Waste of Money?

By Jeanne LeFlore
Staff Writer


An age-old debate of whether or not to allow police to drive patrol cars  home reared it’s head recently in Kiowa.

On Monday, the Board of Trustees for the town of Kiowa discussed not allowing the members of its own police department to drive the police cars home, during a regular meeting of the board at the Kiowa Town Hall.

The item was placed on the agenda by Jim Ryan board of trustee member for Ward 4. “I don’t have nothin’ against the police department but driving those cars home is a waste of money,” Ryan said. 

The Kiowa Police Department has driven the cars home for at least the last 12 years, according to Tony Runyon chief of police for the town of Kiowa.

During the meeting Ryan compared police officers to fast food employees.

“People who work at fast-food places like McDonald’s and KFC don’t get a car to drive home,” Ryan said.

After some discussion by audience members both for and against the agenda item, Runyon was given a chance to explain the reasons why police officers take their cars home.

Runyon said to have the police park their cars every night at the city hall would cost more money in time spent transferring each officers equipment back and forth from the vehicles along with the danger of lost time in an emergency.

 He said that  with a take-home car program, when an officer is called in, they dress, get in the unit and respond according to situation. If the officer drives a private vehicle, there is no running “code” or “hot” to the call. We are required to obey all traffic laws, arrive at parking location, ready the car, and then go. Much precious time has expired. “I don’t want to be that officer under attack, waiting for back-up to check out a car and then arrive,” Runyon said.

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