Mayor Changes Policy for Police/Fire Take Home Cars

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Ashley Henderson
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Updated: 7/22/2013 7:01 pm
Calling it a "misguided policy", Mayor Andy Berke today ended the unpopular restrictions on take-home police cars used by officers who live in the county.
The decision was praised by city council members and the police chief.
This is the latest move by Andy Berke to change or modify actions of the Littlefield administration.
After dismantling the Gang Intervention task force, the Mayor has now taken a giant step in improving morale in the police and fire departments.

MAYOR ANDY BERKE , CHATTANOOGA "For too long we've had a misguided policy regarding our take-home cars. it's a policy that says if you live just a mile outside of the city have to pay 100% of your travel costs from your home to the police station." "We're gonna fix that" .

It's been 2 and a half years since Mayor Ron Littlefield initiated the controversial policy for police officers and firefighters who live outside the city limits.

MAYOR BERKE "This policy has been unreasonable and has cost our police officers thousands of dollars a year...and its an example of what happens when you don't act on a consensus."

Police Chief Bobby Dodd and Fire Chief Lamar Flint joined city council members and police officers for the announcement.

MAYOR BERKE "Our police officers will only pay the cost for using their take-home cars beyond the city limits."

CHIEF BOBBY DODD, CHATTANOOGA POLICE DEPT. "All the things the mayor did mention are absolutely true..morale issues, economic also puts a lot more police officers on the streets ..More cars in the neighborhood and stuff."

SGT. TOBY HEWITT, PRES., FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE "Some were paying between 100 and 250 dollars a month ..My personal situation ..had I chosen to participate in paying for this would have been around 230 dollars a month for me."

City council members backed the Mayor's decision.

CHIP HENDERSON, CITY COUNCIL MEMBER "I'm fully in support of it and I think he knew from previous conversations with several council people ...that we were in favor of that to begin with."

A hundred and fifty officers who live outside the city limits parked their cars when that policy was put into effect in 2011.
Currently about 90 officers at the police department are taking cars home, but many more are expected to do so now that the cost is more manageable.

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