UPDATED: KCPD singlehandedly stimulating U.S. car manufacturers

Dave Helling of The Kansas City Star today reports that the Kansas City Police Department spent $2.1 million in the last fiscal year on more than 100 vehicles that aren’t ready for the road.

Most of the new cars and vans are being warehoused at the overhaul base at the Kansas City International Airport, waiting to be fitted with radios, lights and sirens.

Some of the KCPD’s cars in its existing 800-vehicle fleet had more than 200,000 miles on them, police spokesman Capt. Rich Lockhart told the Star. Lockhart explained that the city has had a long history of shorting the department on police vehicles, and said the department saw an opportunity to buy the vehicles more cheaply during this period of car industry woes.

The KCPD has criticized the City Council during recent budget cuts, complaining that cutbacks could result in fewer officers on the streets. Now, council members are upset that the department didn’t try harder to find ways to save money internally.

Meanwhile, because of those budget cuts, it could take up to two years before the department can afford to get the new, warehoused vehicles on the road.

The story suggests that the KCPD’s take-home policy for squad cars could be on the chopping block. City Auditor Gary White said, according to the Star, that using the police cars to commute to and from work added $1.26 million to the cost of operating the fleet.

UPDATE: Kansas City Police Chief Jim Corwin has posted a response regarding this topic on his blog.

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