Monday, July 5, 2010
Joyriding in the "company" car
Police Chief Jeff Gilbert has repeatedly tried to defend allowing his officers to use Town vehicles for private use with the lame excuse of canine officers needing to take their four legged partners home at shift's end.
Yet, as these very recent photos clearly show, this unoccupied QPD car is at the Walmart in Parker, and it is not a K9 unit. I can't imagine what official business brought it here.
My problem is not with the officer assigned this car or even the poor job of parking it, my problem is that right now, Quartzsite is insolvent and every penny counts. Now I'm not going to mention where this officer actually lives but just for fun, let's do some mileage math.
From the Walmart in Parker to the Quartzsite Police Station is 36 miles each way, 72 miles round trip. If an officer commutes this far for only 182 out of 365 days a year, that's 13, 104 miles each year. Now I'm going to generously estimate that the car gets a highway average of 23 mpg (16 mpg around town). So, 570 gallons of gas at a current price of $2.80/gallon may only be $1,596 annually for that one officer, but let's not forget repair and maintenance for the extra wear and tear on the car. Chief Gilbert and his officers often lament that the Town's police cars are an aging fleet, and it costs somewhere between $25,000 and $35,000 Quartzsite doesn't have to replace one.
Given that Police Chief Gilbert is probably driving his back and forth to his other home in Havasu (Does he let wife Sondra use it to run errands?) and that several other officers reportedly commute from out of Town, it only make fiscal sense to mandate a stop the practice, effective immediately.
Many other Quartzsite Town vehicles have been spotted as far away as Phoenix and Yuma. Mayor Foster declined use of a Town car for official business. I think that Quartzsite's other civil servants should follow his lead.