Casper Police Talks to City Council About 1 to 1 Program
At the Casper city council meeting on Tuesday, the Casper Police Department talked about the one-to-one police vehicle program.
Taylor Gilbert, police fleet coordinator, and police chief Keith McPheeters, spoke about how successful the program has been since it began in 2013, and has saved the city over $1.3 million.
When the program started, the police department had several issues when it came to police spending more time switching out their equipment between vehicles and officers not being accountable for the damage done to a specific vehicle.
Since then, Gilbert said that there has been an improvement in terms of time saved with officers already having all the equipment each officer needed at the start of their shift and that officers driving the vehicles to and from their homes helps to increase the overall police presence in the city.
McPheeters said the new vehicles have also allowed the department to better track the driving habits of the officers so that the department is able to correct driving habits and increase the usability of the vehicles.
The council was also informed about the need for the police department to purchase 42 new vehicles over the next few years, costing a total of approximately $2.3 million, paid for with one-cent funding.
Vice Mayor Steve Freel said that when he was on the force, he knew that there was an issue with officers not taking accountability for their vehicles and that this program has helped tremendously in a variety of areas.
"When you have one-on-one programs, the equipment is in the vehicles, they're ready to go, they get a call, they go directly to where they need to be, and time is cut down, lives are saved, period," Freel said. "Part of this program was to have cars being seen everywhere...it has an effect on people, there's a multitude of reasons why this is such a good plan, I'm 100% behind this, I don't think it should ever go away."
Councilmember Bruce Knell agreed that this program is helpful and that the public should understand that it is only possible due to one-cent funding.
"It's also really really important that the public understands that this is 100% funded by one cent money," Knell said. "When those one-cent votes come, they are so vitally important to our community, to our police department, because without that, trying to fund that with the general fund, and still take care of the other services we provide, would practically be an impossibility. Please keep in mind, programs like this are so reliant on that one-cent funding, so when it comes time for those initiatives to come in front of you, please consider this heavily."