There has been an ongoing debate going on at City Hall between Police Chief Terence Reardon and former Police Officer Charlie Patch, now Councilor Patch and Mayor Thomas Ambrosino.
Patch believes giving commanding officers what turns out to be private automobiles to drive to their homes at the city’s expense is a waste of money.
The police chief has argued otherwise, claiming those who drive automobiles home might be called to duty and would need the police car to respond.
Patch and the council have cut from the budget the $150,000 set aside to finance the automobiles for commanding officers.
The mayor has reversed that bit of legislation by ordering the money back into the budget.
The question is this – do the highest paid officers in the city, many of whom live in other communities – need city automobiles in order to do their jobs with the department?
Also, the rationale is that police cars parked in the community where police officers live reduces crime.
If our police cruisers are being driven to communities other than ours, whose community is it that has improved public safety because of our taxpayers’ expenses?
Lastly, the other reason given for higher-ups to have their own automobiles is because they are first responders.
One wonders, how many times in a year do our highest officers respond in their automobiles as first responders?
That said, $150,000 is small potatoes out of a $200 million budget.
But when the time comes when $150,000 doesn’t mean anything to our public officials, well, that indicates that big troubles lie ahead.