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Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015

Gas prices force city police to change

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Gasoline prices that continue to soar have forced Greencastle police officials to rethink a policy that allowed officers to drive their vehicles while not on duty.

Last March, the Greencastle Board of Works approved a plan allowing GPD officers to drive their patrol cars anywhere in Putnam and surrounding counties, regardless of whether they were on duty. But that has recently changed with the rise in fuel costs.

Police Chief Tom Sutherlin told the Board of Works Wednesday that gasoline expenditures have almost doubled since this time last year and that he has already scaled back the take-home vehicle policy.

Officers are no longer to drive their patrol vehicles outside the county, unless they are on duty or are on their way to training outside the county.

According to a chart presented by the chief Wednesday, fuel costs for the period of January through April were more than $22,000. The police department spent just more than $13,000 for fuel during the same period in 2007 (prior to the take-home policy being in place).

The chief and Board of Works members agreed the plan was costing too much money, but they also agreed that allowing officers to drive their patrol cars off duty is a deterrent to crime and it increases response times for officers called to duty at a moments notice.

Sutherlin told the council that if fuel costs continue to be a problem, he may restrict officers to drive their vehicle off-duty only within the city limits.

According to the policy that was approved in March of 2007, officers are allowed to drive their cars off duty inside Putnam County only. They are also required to obey all traffic laws and are prohibited from consuming any substances that would impair their driving while operating their police vehicles.

Only the police officers themselves are allowed to drive their vehicles and they are not allowed to transport any materials of a personal nature, such as alcohol, animals, or other conspicuous items, except in the performance of their duties as a police officer.

The policy reads, "At all times, the use of the police department owned/leased vehicle will be consistent with the high standards of the city of Greencastle, and nothing will be done with, or in, the vehicle that would in any way adversely affect the image or reputation of the city or the police department."

Officers are required to allow their passengers -- who are defined in the plan as family members only -- to exit the vehicle in the event of an emergency call. They cannot respond to an emergency call unless they have allowed their passengers to exit the vehicle first.


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TO THE OFFICER THAT TRAVELS 240 EAST TO 75 THEN NORTH TO ALMOST DIXIE CHOPPER ROAD THEN BACK WEST TO GO HOME YOU MUST THANK TAX PAYERS TO GET YOU HOME. WITH THE RISE IN GAS PRICE I'M DOING GOOD TO MAKE IT TO WORK AND BACK HOME, AND I LIVE AND WORK IN GREENCASTLE !!! I WILL REMEMBER THIS WHEN TIME TO VOTE......

-- Posted by OLD SCHOOL on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 12:45 AM

Kudos to the 2 city officers that live in Fillmore.Thank you for driving your P.O.V. when you're off duty.Hope you rub off on others.

-- Posted by what_it's_worth on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 1:07 AM

THINK OF THE GAS WE SAVE BY MEETING AT THE STATION (GAS) STANDING IN THE WAY WHEN I SHOP AND PAY FOR MY GAS AND COFFEE, LOCAL AND ADJOINING TOWN SERVICE PROVIDERS

-- Posted by OLD SCHOOL on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 2:17 AM

It's about time! spending tax payers money for personal things, the gas, wear and tear on the cars. you even get free food at some food places. everyone else has to ppay for every day activities. Welcome to the real world cops. I don't believe all abuse this, but the ones whom did blew it for the others.Lets not just stop with the officers, there are others officials whom need looked at.

-- Posted by victory on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 6:23 AM

Don't forget how little the police officers that serve and protect you and the community are paid yearly. It's almost ridiculous actually. These are a few "perks" of their jobs that are very well deserved to help compensate them for what they ARE NOT making in a regular pay check. You people NEVER appreciate our law enforcement officers, but would rather ridicule them and finger point at them for anything you can possible find. I hope no one in any of your families ever need help from any law enforcement, but if they do, I think you will realize how valuable they are to us !!!

-- Posted by mindmyownbusiness on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 7:25 AM

Oh, none of you have benefits associated with your jobs? (Those of you that have jobs, anyway). I bet you b!tch and moan when you lose one of your job benefits. So why are you all so bitter because the police officers get a job benefit? It is no different than getting sick pay or health insurance as part of your compensation package.

-- Posted by VolunteerFF on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 7:39 AM

Wow, kicking Officers while their down. These Officers work odd hours, most weekends and holidays and go to work knowing they may not come home. They would risk their own life to save yours without even knowing your name. You want to gripe about a perk they were given to offset a very low salary. I think just by doing some basic math I can figure out the main reason the fuel budget went up is because the huge increase in gas prices this year. I would much rather have officers driving around off duty in their cars ready to respond to an emergency (maybe my family) than having to try to get to the police station and find a car. Please, you get much more for your tax dollar this way than the other. I would love to go to the gas station and see Officers getting coffee makes me feel safe. In today's world you never know when someones going to flip out and start shooting people. I hope Officers here know some people do support them and would gladly pay.

-- Posted by 4UALWAYS on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 8:02 AM

If the pay was so low, then they could not keep officers, I very seldom see a add running in the paper for officers. Yes, the pay could be better for them, but look at the perks, (free insurance, food, gas,) and lets be honest, how much crime is (horrible crime, not the speeders and such) there in greencastle. I do not care that the officers take their cars home, they should, what I care about is when I see an officer pulling a speed boat, fishing boat, moving trailer, etc... with their car. Just knowing that we are paying for their gas ticks me off. I do appreciate all that they do, but things are tough for everyone, and all the extra fuel they use does is makes it harder on everyone but them.

-- Posted by tbone46135 on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 8:43 AM

I can't believe some of you get so rude and hateful about this. Old School, I hope your never in an accident when that officer is in the area....if he saved you or your childs life...I have to ask HOW WOULD YOU VOTE??? Get Real, these guys Protect and Serve...Now shut your mouth and let them!!

-- Posted by horsepower on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 9:40 AM

Well again by doing basic math, lets see, last year at the same time the article says fuel cost was $13,000 with no off duty use. This year just over $22,000 with off duty use by Officers. I would imagine a gallon of gas has went up at least a full $1.00 since then. I'm sure the Officers are required to patrol X amount of miles a day on duty. I really don't see the big increase after figuring the way gas has went up. I'm sure it may be a few hundred dollars an Officer. As far as crime in Greencastle, ya not many murders thank God. I read the scanner and Banner Graphic almost everyday and I've seen plenty of thefts, domestic battery, drugs, child molesting and drunk driving, and last week bombs near a school...humm. I also know the force has hired several new officers the last year or two because of officers leaving over low salaries. The State Police and Sheriffs drive their cars everywhere off duty....? I'm sure you pay county and state taxes. I'm sure the Police are doing what they can to save money on gas, but please the main problem is not your local goverment but the oil companies.

-- Posted by 4UALWAYS on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 10:04 AM

"Officers are no longer to drive their patrol vehicles outside the county, unless they are on duty or are on their way to training outside the county".

I am not sure why everyone is so upset and hateful. The officers can still take their cars home. They are just not allowed to go outside of the county unless it's for training or they are on duty.

Times are hard for everyone. Home health care workers may drive 20 miles one way to be with a client. They do not receive pay for mileage, make $7-$8 an hour, and have no benefits.

And the so-called "perks" of the job may not follow the code of ethics. Many officers have lost their jobs for believing the things they were taking were "perks" of the job.

-- Posted by cloverlady on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 11:41 AM

It makes no sense for Officers to have cars that they can drive off duty. I sure hope that when you are needing help, some irresponsible policeman doesnt respond to your home or business to save your backside while they are not on duty. I bet that you would be singing a different tune. Heres another good idea, why dont we all irritate the police some more so that they will hesitate to respond to emergencies. The gripers that write here are the ones that always disrepect the police, however they are the first ones to call and ask for help and then complain that it took too long for an officer to get to them. Give me a break people.

-- Posted by uttersillyness on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 12:56 PM

Ummm. yeah, I do believe the city pays more than the county. As a matter of fact, I believe that McDonald's pays more than the county. Why don't you ask a deputy what they get paid before you make those comments

-- Posted by climberguy on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 2:54 PM

Oh my...officers get free insurance? No!..not even a discount; free food? No! pulling boats and trailers..that is funny! FYI...officers salary alone with a family qualifies them for FOOD STAMPS!! Get real folks, if an officer lives close by, crime is down, that is fact, officers perks? A take home car that everyone cries about..just another way to complain about GPD. If they had to drive to pick up their car, then report to a crime at your house, you would be the 1st person to cry because it took too long for them to respond.

-- Posted by never101 on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 4:04 PM

VolunteerFF ; health insurance , sick days are you drunk? comparing that to take home car with no care for gas or up keep!are you saying these officers don't get these benifets? if so they need to fight for these benifets instead of a take home car. if they don't like their pay , get another job!these car are driven as personal cars. taxpayers pay for the gas. maybe to go 100's of miles . Heck most companies give take home cars are for business not for personal.

VolunteerFF by ur screen name i comend what u do and I applaud cops. But right is right

-- Posted by Sand mann on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 7:38 PM

One must look at the total compensation package, not just bits and pieces of it. The total compensation package may consist of many different aspects, including sick pay, insurance and take-home cars. Take-home cars benefit the taxpayers as well as the officers. Crime rates are down in areas where there is a police presence. Besides, if the department has to provide parking for all the police vehicles and all the personal vehicles, they need many tens of thousands of dollars for land for a new parking lot. Then, to be competitive with other departments, the city will need to increase wages to attract applicants for the position. So saving money on gas for the cars in the short term would cost many times what they saved up front. "Stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime."

-- Posted by VolunteerFF on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 8:17 PM

Hey Graydog ,I'm with you!!!

-- Posted by Blue6 on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 8:26 PM

A cop is a cop 24-7. Even when they're off duty.

They don't get to clock in and out for breaks.

Can everyone just leave them alone? They're doing their job. I think before they get slammed, you should try doing their job. Maybe then everyone would keep their mouths shut. Until you've been in their shoes, please respect them. You might need them some day for help!!!

-- Posted by what_it's_worth on Fri, May 23, 2008, at 1:45 AM

-- Posted by never101 on Thu, May 22, 2008, at 4:04 PM"

"Oh my...officers get free insurance? No!..not even a discount; free food? No! pulling boats and trailers..that is funny! FYI...officers salary alone with a family qualifies them for FOOD STAMPS!! Get real folks, if an officer lives close by, crime is down, that is fact, officers perks? A take home car that everyone cries about..just another way to complain about GPD. If they had to drive to pick up their car, then report to a crime at your house, you would be the 1st person to cry because it took too long for them to respond."

Sounds like a cop talking here. When I still in High school I was like everyone else, working in fast food, every cop that came in in uniform was given free food, all they had to do is sign the receipt. I also have a few buddies in law enforcement, and they do get free insurance "maybe not their personal car, but in their patrol car, which is why they take it everywhere, even on family out tings. I have seen GPD, ISP, PCPD all towing boats, trailers, campers, etc... with their patrol cars. Once again, if the pay was that bad, they would go somewhere else where the pay was better, they choose this profession, so they have no one to blame but themselves for what they are making. So "never101" please get your facts straight before posting something that you know nothing about. I am not saying every officer does this, but it only takes one person to see it to think everyone does it. Its like Indy, the city is not bad, but all you hear about is the bad, if that is all you see and hear then all you think is its bad.

-- Posted by tbone46135 on Fri, May 23, 2008, at 6:55 AM

The headline is a little misleading. They STILL get to take their cars home and drive them all over. Police officers everywhere interview for the job and take it knowing what the pay and benefits are. When raising our three kids, there were two incomes in our household and we still qualified for food stamps and discounted lunches at school. We did not have a patrol car sitting in our drive. Never101, they do pull trailers and boats. Think of the Indiana State Farm employees. They are in fear for their lives everyday and they are in a controlled environment with 1600 inmates. Now that's dangerous. They drive their own vehicles to work. They took the job knowing what the pay is. They don't whine and moan about not having state vehicles. They realize that they need to get to work so they can feed their families!!!! You have to admit, some officers think they are owed these cars. I can't wait to see how long it really takes to blow the gas budget. Then everyone will be crying the blues. Remember, it takes a simple man to figure out a tough problem. (translates into some of us aren't that stupid and could supply a simple answer to the question, if only those higher ups would listen. It's just that they don't want to give up their power yet and admit to defeat).

-- Posted by cty-govt-a-muck on Fri, May 23, 2008, at 7:11 AM

There are several comments about "free insurance"...what insurance is free? If they are off duty and are involved in an accident while not responding to emergency call, they pay for that. Free food??...blame the business that gives them free food. Officers don't go in and ask for free food. These businesses that give them free food, have also donated free food to fire dept, OL, other emergency services agencies when there have been major incidents i.e., Rector Hall fire, Headley Hdwe, etc. Those businesses chose to do that. KUDOS to them. They respect the emergency services personnel who put their lives on the line, who work long hours, who spend time away from their families. To the officers that live outside the city limits, they have responded to calls while off duty in their police cars because a PCSD/ISP is too far away. I as a taxpayer appreciate all that GPD officers do for this community rather on duty or not. KUDOS to graydog...there is waste in the county building. Take a look at the 911 center!! Some emergency personnel do not even get dispatched to emergency calls and the dispatchers keep their jobs!! Let a police officer not respond to a call they were given and they would lose their jobs!! Chief Sutherlin and GPD officers KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!!

-- Posted by golfpro on Fri, May 23, 2008, at 7:46 AM

Sounds like to me they must just be making minimum wage. If so let them drive the police car home . If not, then they should be like anyone else and drive their own car like the rest of the people who has to work for minimum wage or pay for the gas they use on their personal use of the patrol cars.That goes for the sheriffs dept. and other Govt. officials also.

-- Posted by cmlandscape on Sat, May 24, 2008, at 6:34 AM

Officers are no longer to drive their patrol vehicles outside the county, unless they are on duty or are on their way to training outside the county.

WOW do you think that is going to hurt response time .... They aren't even in the county.

According to the policy that was approved in March of 2007, officers are allowed to drive their cars off duty inside Putnam County only.

They are also required to obey all traffic laws and are prohibited from consuming any substances that would impair their driving while operating their police vehicles.

maybe they should just start following their policies. they expect us to follow the rules.

-- Posted by Sand mann on Sat, May 24, 2008, at 5:01 PM

Let's ask all these disrespectful morons

that have nothing nice to say about Law Enforcement, would you put your life on the line, to save one of these other morons writing all the negative comments? Police officers do not even take a second to decide if they would die for you every day citizens. They do it on duty and off duty and that is their promise to the citizens of this great country, to serve and protect. So for all the fallen officers and their families, you people should be ashamed. Get a life and worry about the next time someone is threatening your life. Hopefully the officer will be able to respond quickly, even if it means using his own personal vehicle.

-- Posted by magoo55 on Wed, May 28, 2008, at 8:31 AM


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