Lexington Police Cruiser Policy Change in Limbo
Lexington's police union has suspended a vote on a cruiser "take home" policy originally scheduled to continue through the weekend. The proposed policy calls for a monthly 50 dollar fee for officers who want to use their vehicles for personal reasons. The issue may not be resolved until collective bargaining negotiations resume in early 2015.
An effort to restore personal use of police cruisers in Lexington is on hold. A similar policy was curtailed in 20-12 as part of a collective bargaining agreement. Now there is a disagreement over this concession. Fraternal Order of Police President Jason Rothermund says the change was not sought by police. "The burden of choice was placed on the police officers of the city to choose what to give up in collective bargaining and the cruisers were given up as opposed to the alternative of possible laying off police officers or further reduction of benefits," said Rothermund.
In a statement, mayoral Chief of Staff Jamie Emmons says, four years ago many sacrifices were made across government to restore financial health to the city. Then in 2012, He says the Police Union and the City agreed to a change in the police cruiser personal use benefit.
Former police chief Anthany Beatty is running for Lexington mayor and has weighed in on the matter of fighting crime. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray says this is not a campaign matter. "Oh, this isn't a political matter. This is about public safety and it's about ways to improve our community. And we want to get this resolved," said Gray.
For his part, F-O-P leader Rothermund believes politics is a part of this process. "It's been a political issue from the git-go. Obviously, now it's being amplified because of the people who are running for mayor. It's an election season, so everybody's picking up on it," added Rothermund.
No date has been set to resume the vote. Rothermund says he views it as a public safety issue. He admits the matter may not be finalized until collective bargaining talks, set to start early next year.