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Police department issues take home cruisers

INTERCEPTORS: Six of the 16 home issued Ford Police Interceptors sit in from of the Wabash City Police Department.

BY Kaitlin Gebby - kgebby@wabashplaindealer.com

More than a dozen police cars were issued as take home vehicles to Wabash City Police officers living within city limits.

According to Public Information Officer Capt. Matt Benson, 16 Ford Police Interceptors in the fleet were issued to 14 uniformed officers, the police chief and assistance police chief. The project of adding the vehicles to the fleet has been more than a year in the making, Benson said. He said Chief Matt Bruss tries to add two to three vehicles to the fleet each year, cycling out older vehicles. He noted that the oldest car currently in the fleet was a 2012 model.

Benson said use of the vehicles is regulated by standard operating procedures, which permit officers to drive their issued vehicles while off duty.

“There have been many national studies on the presence of a police vehicle alone acting as a preventative to crime,” he said.

He said Wabash City Police Department conducted its own study of where officers lived in Wabash, noting that the even spread of officers throughout the city meant take home vehicles would be key to reducing response times.

“When there’s a call, it could take maybe 10 to 15 minutes to drive to the station, get your equipment, load it into your car and then go to the scene,” Benson said. “With these vehicles, officers will be able to leave from their current location to the location of the call.”

He noted that a training session conducted at Wabash High School simulating an emergency at a sporting event was a prime example of when a personal issued vehicle would be effective. He said in that scenario, nearby officers could be on scene within minutes.

“Providing safety to the citizens of Wabash is our first priority,” Chief Bruss stated in a press release.

The release also said take home cars are “cleaner, better taken care of, have lower maintenance costs and last three times longer than police cars that are used by several officers.”

Benson said the cost of each vehicle varies and could not provide a figure on the personal issued vehicles. He noted that the up front cost of a sedan is typically less than an SUV, both of which can be found in the Wabash fleet. He also said the cost of equipping the vehicles with sirens, radios, cages and other police equipment varies as well. Benson said Bruss has been adding cars to the fleet over the last few years to “offset the expense.”