Since the mid-1970s, Lexington police officers have been allowed to use their cruisers during off-duty hours, but that could be about to change. A new cost-cutting plan by the city would limit the personal use of cruisers. The Fraternal Order of Police was notified of the changes on Friday. FOP president Mike Sweeney says, if the plan goes through, the first thing citizens will notice is a decreased police presence around town. At a time when the police department is already understaffed, Sweeney says that could present a safety risk.
"Officers have actually gotten out and performed CPR off duty and saved lives. Officers have apprehended and arrested bank robbers while off duty," Sweeney says.
Officials haven't said how much money the city estimates it could save. Some neighboring communities with different policies include Louisville, which does allow officers to take home cruisers for personal use, but only if they live in Jefferson County, and Cincinnati, where police cruisers are only taken home by special officials. Asked for comment, Mayor Jim Gray said his office is still working on negotiations, but declined to elaborate further.