(INDIANAPOLIS) - For years, tax payers have been footing the gasoline bill for Marion County Sheriff's Deputies to drive their cruisers off duty and even to part-time jobs.
Edward Moody of Fox59 reports, Marion County Sheriff John Layton is requiring all deputies who take a car home and use it, beyond driving to work and back, to pay a fee.
"With gas prices what they are, the tax payers deserve it," said Layton.
In the past, law enforcement officials have said tax payers should pay because keeping sheriff's vehicles visible in neighborhoods and around town is a crime deterrent.
"If a deputy is at a retail outlet, say a grocery store, and a police car is sitting out in a parking lot I don't know of many hold-up men who would stick the place up with a sheriff's car sitting out in front," said Layton.
Layton insists that won't change. He said even if deputies just use the sheriff's cars to drive to work and home, they'll still have a presence in neighborhoods and on roadways.
His new plan requires deputies assigned to a car, who drive the car on personal time, to pay a $75 fuel charge each month. If they use the car for part-time work, like private security service, they'll pay $150 per month. The sheriff said it should bring in as much as $30,000 a month to help offset the department's $16 million budget shortfall.
Deputies can opt out by choosing to take positions that don't require keeping a sheriff's car, but with 750 deputies and only 258 cruisers, Layton doesn't think his office will have any empty cars.
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