Some police cars won't be going home

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Columbia County sheriff's deputies living outside the county's borders now need to find another ride home.

As a fuel-saving measure, the sheriff's office instituted a policy this week banning deputies living outside the county from driving their police cruisers home.

"With rising fuel costs, we have to make adjustments," sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said. "We've got to be on the road, but we're tightening our belts."

Of the 164 sheriff's office employees issued county vehicles, 35 live outside the county, he said.

Capt. Morris said it is too early to know how much the measure might save the sheriff's office.

The agency was budgeted $700,000 for fuel in the fiscal year starting July 1. That is an increase of nearly $460,000 since 2005.

Because the presence of police cruisers inside neighborhoods acts as a crime deterrent, Capt. Morris said employees living in the county can continue to drive county-owned vehicles home.

Under a policy set in 2005, the first year the sheriff's office initiated gas-saving measures, authorities living within 15 miles of Columbia County's borders were allowed to drive cruisers home.

Other policies set in October 2005 still in use include:

- Off-duty vehicles should only be used for official business or an emergency situation.

- Whenever possible, employees attending off-site training should try to ride with other employees attending the same session.

- Whenever possible, employees performing a patrol function should shut down their vehicles 10 minutes of every hour to conserve fuel.

Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength said last month that his deputies are allowed to take police cruisers home, but personal use isn't allowed once they are off the clock.

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com.

FUEL BUDGET

FISCAL YEAR.........AMOUNT

2008-09.........$700,000

2007-08.........$500,000

2006-07.........$400,000

2005-06.........$300,000

2004-05.........$242,000

Comments (54) Add comment
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iletuknow
8
Points
iletuknow 06/11/08 - 06:25 am
0
0
GOt enough police cars

GOt enough police cars sitting for days in the driveways and streets here in my neighborhood in Aiken county to run the Columbia Co police dept.

WHATDIDIDO
0
Points
WHATDIDIDO 06/11/08 - 07:22 am
0
0
What some of you fail to

What some of you fail to realize is that deputies on their way to and from work, have responded to all types of calls, ranging from broken down vehicle to murders. The next time you are stranded on the side of the road, or you have an emergency at home, think about the fact that an off duty deputy may have been able to get to you sooner than the one that was sent to you. Some of you just need to stop hating law enforcement.

karmakills123
8
Points
karmakills123 06/11/08 - 07:33 am
0
0
Your going to pick on Police

Your going to pick on Police officers???? When the lazy money sucking good for nothing RC commissioners suck up gas for their own personal use??? Come on Columbia County you got more class than that.

sarahbabie04
0
Points
sarahbabie04 06/11/08 - 07:56 am
0
0
come on now, so what you are

come on now, so what you are telling me is you are punishing the 35 that live out to CC. I agree with you karmakills... CC has got to have more class than that.

55 F-100
1
Points
55 F-100 06/11/08 - 08:16 am
0
0
The 35 offficers who do not

The 35 offficers who do not reside in Columbia County should be allowed to drive their marked vehicles to the county line and park their marked unit there, and transfer to their personal vehicle for the rest of their commute to their residence. In doing so, the presence of the marked unit during the drive to the county line, and the parking of the unit in a secure location would provide a service known as "passive patrol" which occurs when the public merely observes the marked unit, and therefore feels a duty to observe the speed limit and all other traffic laws. Doing this would take some of the increased financial burden off of the Columbia County officers who, like all officers in law enforcement are woefully underepaid, and provide the "passive patrol" service to the citizens of Columbia County.

Safe at Home
0
Points
Safe at Home 06/11/08 - 08:31 am
0
0
I think the Columbia County

I think the Columbia County Sheriff's Office did a good thing. They are trying to save fule while still keeping Columbia County Neighborhoods safe. Good Job CC.

joe101
0
Points
joe101 06/11/08 - 08:44 am
0
0
This is stupid. Let them

This is stupid. Let them drive home. You have to pay them to drive back to the sheriff's department and drop off there cars. Driving around is what they are there for. Next they will say you can only have one bullet.

marie21
5
Points
marie21 06/11/08 - 08:47 am
0
0
Thank you Ronnie Strength for

Thank you Ronnie Strength for letting all deputies drive their police cars home. #1 They don't make enough money to have to use their own gasoline and vehicles #2 It's a protection within our neighborhoods to have police cars parked near other homes.

426Hemi
0
Points
426Hemi 06/11/08 - 09:06 am
0
0
If it's gas only and not a

If it's gas only and not a vehicle maintenance issue, the give those officers the opportunity to "pay" for the additional mileage outside Col. Cty, and deduct from pay, per miles. Should add up to only a few dollars if going by gas mileage of the cruiser. Car gets 15 mpg, and officer lives 2 miles beyond the CC line, then the "fee" would be only for the 2 miles, and gas expended.

426Hemi
0
Points
426Hemi 06/11/08 - 09:10 am
0
0
But, then why doesn't CC

But, then why doesn't CC simply raise taxes to cover the additional expenses? Business as usual you know. I also say let them take the vehicles home, as most comments here reflect that sentiment, raising public safety and sheriff visibility.

thewatcher
0
Points
thewatcher 06/11/08 - 09:15 am
0
0
Kudos to CCSD At least they

Kudos to CCSD
At least they are doing SOMETHING. Govt. fleets are taking a beating on the fuel costs. Most are using the same locations to fuel as everybody else. On that point, a counterpoint though, perhaps the Aiken Co. CCSD employees could save the county a little $ because they can fill up in S.C. where gas is cheaper.

noway
201
Points
noway 06/11/08 - 09:30 am
0
0
CC taxpayers don't pay taxes

CC taxpayers don't pay taxes for their deputies to patrol outside of Col Cty. There is no reason deputies need to be driving their cars home to Aiken.

csrareader
1287
Points
csrareader 06/11/08 - 09:33 am
0
0
We don't do enough for law

We don't do enough for law enforcement officers. When you need law enforcement assistance, you don't mind where they live or what vehicle they drive home. I say let them continue driving the CC cars home. If driving out of the county is a problem, then let them drive to the county line at CC expense, then have them pay a portion of the mileage from the county line to their home. However, I say if they are CC deputies, let them drive the vehicles home at no expense to them.

GuyIncognito
1
Points
GuyIncognito 06/11/08 - 09:40 am
0
0
Suck it up, Columbia County.

Suck it up, Columbia County. The police need a few breaks. They do hard work that needs to be done, so what if 35 use a little bit of extra gas? I'd bet that some of those 35 still live closer, even though they are in a different county, than some of those that live in Columbia County. Its not like they are running errands in the car, its to and from work.

MJDW
0
Points
MJDW 06/11/08 - 09:51 am
0
0
I live in Hephzibah where I

I live in Hephzibah where I see two off duty officers from Columbia county cars parked. Save the gas anyway we can!!!

tango123
0
Points
tango123 06/11/08 - 09:53 am
0
0
Columbia County listed 35

Columbia County listed 35 Deputies living outside the county. Richmond County should also implement such policy, since a lot of their deputies live in Colmbia County. The tax payers of Richmond County are paying for those patrol cars being parked in the neighborhoods of Columbia County.

truthisouttherestill
0
Points
truthisouttherestill 06/11/08 - 10:25 am
0
0
a police officer can stop and

a police officer can stop and assist anyone at anytime whether they are in their duty car or their own....and if they are outside their county they truthfully don't have jurisdiction outside the county so even if they did have the cruiser what difference would it make

nightcop
0
Points
nightcop 06/11/08 - 10:50 am
0
0
one more benefit taken away

one more benefit taken away from cops. i'm sure it won't affect morale though (rolleyes).

HOPE
0
Points
HOPE 06/11/08 - 10:54 am
0
0
Both columbia and richmond

Both columbia and richmond county police departments need to keep the vehicles and rotate them from shift to shift. If Atlanta can do it why can't they. Also how many times have you seen columbia and richmond county utilizing their patrol cars for peronal use ie; the off duty jobs they have at resturants the mall, bars etc. Why do we have to pay for the gas? Also why does every county commissioner have county vehicle to drive ?

christian134
1
Points
christian134 06/11/08 - 10:58 am
0
0
Leave the police men and

Leave the police men and women alone for heaven's sake. Cut costs from Country employees who do no have to face down criminals everyday...For once people need to get their priorities straight. Put restrictions on county commissioners and employees who sit at a desk all day, let them have mandatory car pooling, that would save gas dollars. Police persons need higher pay and better benefits that bespeaks of someone who puts their lives on the line daily especially in this day and age when the criminal is much more aggressive and violent...If I were a criminal I would be laughing my head off knowing that soon I would be able to commit more crimes with less interference from police who have to worry about gas consumption as well as other political "junk"...

nightcop
0
Points
nightcop 06/11/08 - 11:19 am
0
0
HOPE - the augusta police

HOPE - the augusta police dept. tried "hot seating" cars before consolidation and it was realized that the maint. costs went through the roof. it's not a wise thing to do. atlanta and depts. that size have to do it because of the number of officers they have. also deputies that work specials have to use their cars for those jobs, but i agree that the tax payers should not have to pay for that gas. i believe they could have found a better way to save gas, but i think they will realize that it won't save that much at all and hopefully will allow these officers to take their cars home again.

APINGA
0
Points
APINGA 06/11/08 - 11:20 am
0
0
truthisouttherestill, you are

truthisouttherestill, you are wrong in your comment! a sheriff's deputy has the powers of arrest with-in the boarders of the state, not just there county. So next time your in Richmond Cty and see a Columbia Cty Car don't make the mistake of thinking he can't pull you over and issue a citation.

Georgiais1
0
Points
Georgiais1 06/11/08 - 11:26 am
0
0
Good Job CCSD...We don't need

Good Job CCSD...We don't need CC police cars parked in RC. RC should do the same but you know what goes on down there.

walk_american
0
Points
walk_american 06/11/08 - 11:32 am
0
0
Personally I think a police

Personally I think a police car sitting in a neighbor hood does not necessarily help stop a crime. Sure if the car is there some punk won't do anything but soon they know where the cops live and where they don't. They just wait to make sure the car is gone before they strike. Maybe cops should put flags or signs in their yards. Then the little punks won't know when the cop is home or when he isn't because the flag/sign will always be there.

jasall18
1
Points
jasall18 06/11/08 - 11:43 am
0
0
Thank god, now that Columbia

Thank god, now that Columbia county cruiser that never goes anywhere on Apricot Lane in Richmond county can get off the side of the side of the road at the top of the hill. That car absolutely never moved, nevermind if its 1 am or 1 pm it was always there and always in the way coming over the hill. I have wanted to hit that thing for years. Now if we can just train local cops on how to drive when not heading to an emergency maybe we can save of fuel there to. There is no need for deputies to be flying past me (when im doing the speed limit) and all that fancy driving if they are responding to something. Lead foots burn lots of fuel and the police need to slow it down like veryone else.

thewatcher
0
Points
thewatcher 06/11/08 - 11:51 am
0
0
Reiteration, I do not

Reiteration, I do not neccesarily agree with the action but I do praise the fact that Col Co is taking the current gas cost serious and has taken a proactive stance that is sure to generate suggestions from their staff they may otherwise never heard.

motivatedinhepzibah
0
Points
motivatedinhepzibah 06/11/08 - 12:39 pm
0
0
I see alot of columbia county

I see alot of columbia county cop cars in west augusta all the time. Somtime i think how can CC with that lil police dept. Have enough cars for them to drive around and police evans, martinez, grovetown, and harlem. While still driving in about around augusta. Imagine in like 5 years though as CC continues to grow. We know more people equals more crime. Its no way they will be able to still drive around RC alot while still having time to police their county. Most of these cops who don't live in columbia county probably stay in west augusta or in the suburban part of south augusta. Way out there near hepzibah, and goshen.

ITDoc
1
Points
ITDoc 06/11/08 - 12:51 pm
0
0
Our police forces are

Our police forces are underpaid and underappreciated. I hope the reaction from the affected deputies does not result in more turnover. I don't think they'll save enough to make it worth the losses. I hope I am wrong.

Captain Awesome
0
Points
Captain Awesome 06/11/08 - 01:04 pm
0
0
There are some police

There are some police officers who live in my neighborhood and park their cars in the front. I'm happy they are allowed to do so.

WHATDIDIDO
0
Points
WHATDIDIDO 06/11/08 - 01:10 pm
0
0
What some of you naysayers

What some of you naysayers fail to realize is that even when working a special, they sometimes respond to robberies, shootings, accidents and call for help from fellow officers. Even when working at the mall, they are still enforcing county and state laws. Also some of you need to look up the law, but sheriff's deputies can enforce laws state wide, you are mistaking them for city police officers.

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