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Reasonable Vehicle Use Rules?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Emergency Services Vehicles McHenry County, Illinois

Reasonable Vehicle Use Rules?

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
August 13, 2009

What are reasonable personal-use rules for take-home vehicles of law enforcement agencies? What are the cost-benefit ratios, or has that concept actually reached government? Or is it, if you are on the (my) team, you get a car or other privileges.

Maybe all these things are in place already. Maybe the rules are written down and agreed to, but are they followed?

Does the County get more "time" out of a deputy who has a take-home vehicle? Do deputies actually make traffic stops, when they observe violations when they are driving home after completing their shifts? If he does, does he count it as "duty" time? What if he gets hurt while making an off-duty traffic stop? Will he be entitled to workers' compensation benefits?

Do they make traffic stops on the way to work, resulting in late arrival and missing roll call? Are deputies compensated for that extra time, or is the "pay" the use of a vehicle to drive to work and back? Is the deputy charged mileage for the personal use of the squad car? Gas?

What off-duty use can a deputy make of the County vehicle? Can he run to the grocery store or the barber shop? If he does, in civilian clothes, is he entitled to make traffic stops out-of-uniform? If he is in the patrol car and observes a serious traffic violation, what does he do? Make the stop? Call it in? Ignore it?

Are take-home cars serviced on duty-time or while the deputy is off-duty? Suppose his take-home car is due for an oil change or a couple of new tires? Does he get this done on his own time and at a place near home; and, if so, how does the merchant/county vendor get paid?

Or is there a sheriff's department garage where deputies' vehicles and all other sheriff's department vehicles are serviced? What does the deputy do when his take-home car is due for service? Does he sit in the waiting room and cool his duty-time heels, while the car is worked on?

What range of services is provided in the Sheriff's garage? There is a garage with important privacy signs (Sheriff's & Coroner's Garage, or something like that) at the corner of Russel Court and Julie Street.

Is work done on any non-County-owned vehicles by this garage, such as on private vehicles of anyone at the Sheriff's Department or possibly on vehicles of any persons-of-interest (err, influence) in the County?

Does the Sheriff's Department keep track of the number of times in a year that deputies with take-home vehicles are called out between shifts? Ever?

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