Police chief proposes extending take-home policy for police vehicles

Published: Sep. 5, 2021 at 11:33 AM CDT
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - Decatur Police Chief Nate Allen wants the city council to extend the distance police officers can drive their police vehicles home from five miles to 20 miles outside the city. This was first reported by the Decatur Daily.

Allen says this extension could be used as a recruiting tool for his department, which he says is short-staffed.

The expanded take-home policy would allow officers to drive patrol vehicles to residences east of downtown Huntsville, Elkmont, Rogersville, Town Creek, Cullman or Lacey’s Spring.

Allen said the expanded benefit is necessary to compete effectively with neighboring law enforcement agencies.

“(Police) departments around us are causing us to increase our take-home policy,” Allen said. “It’s causing us to lose officers. If we extend our limit, we could possibly steal some of their officers. We want to be on a level playing field.”

Human Resources Director Richelle Sandlin said the police department has 182 employees with 14 openings for officers.

“We’re down seven plus the seven we’re historically short on (filling),” Sandlin said.

Chief Financial Officer Kyle Demeester said that 17 additional active employees would qualify for taking home their police vehicles.

The proposal has the support of the majority of the city council. Councilman Billy Jackson is the only dissenting voice. He opposes the resolution due to its cost and concerns about increased city liability but also because he feels its impact will be to decrease the safety of Decatur neighborhoods.

“A police vehicle that’s parked in a driveway in Decatur is much more valuable to our community than a police vehicle that’s parked in a driveway in Cullman,” Jackson said Friday.

A vote on the resolution is scheduled for Tuesday.

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