Demopolis police reinstate the auto take home program

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 9, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &045; The City of Demopolis Police Department is returning to a format that hadn’t been used since Charles Avery was chief of police.

&8216;It’s something that was done for a while,’ said Jeff Manuel, Public Safety Director. &8220;It was done during the last police administration and we’re starting it back.&8221;

With this program, the members of the police department that live within the jurisdiction will be allowed to take their cars home. The police officers are on call 24 hours a day.

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The program would save the time of an officer having to come to the station from home to get a car, if called to duty.

An officer will have a marked police vehicle assigned to them and allow that officer to drive home after each shift and back to work again when on duty. Police expect the effect will be a higher law enforcement visibility on the streets and in the neighborhoods where the officers live, thus providing a greater deterrence to crime.

A 1992 study conducted by the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., and published in Law and Order magazine showed there was a direct correlation between higher law enforcement visibility and reduced crime rates.

A recent study conducted by the East Peoria, Ill. Police Department stated that residents like it because there’s a police presence in the neighborhood.

The study further states that police departments across the country cite many benefits to the take home program such as the increased life of the cars, greater accountability and responsibility for the cars, improved condition of the fleet, fewer accidents, increased visibility and lower turnover.

Beyond the obvious benefits of higher crime deterrence and tax payer savings, the take home policy will actually put more marked police cars on the road for service at critical times.

Officers who would in the past leave the patrol car in a lot and drive their non-emergency personal vehicle to and from work between shifts will now drive marked patrol cars to and from work and be responsible for answering calls anytime they are operating the patrol car.

The officer will be able to respond directly from home in a fully equipped emergency vehicle to go straight to the scene of any emergency.