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How many personal miles on take-home vehicles?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois Emergency Services Vehicles

How many personal miles on take-home vehicles?

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
July 29, 2012

How many personal miles should a deputy be allowed to put on his take-home squad car?

Almost every deputy at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department has a take-home squad car. Pretty nice deal, huh? Supposedly, a deputy could respond to an emergency in the take-home car, if one happened and if he got called out.

Has there ever been an emergency call-out in McHenry County?

One claim by advocates of take-home cars is that they make the streets safer. You know, when you see a cop, you slow down... When is the last time that was true?

I remember being passed by an Illinois State Trooper on I-90 near Huntley. He was running 70 in a 55 zone, just leading the pack. And then there was the Sunday on westbound I-90 in by Highway 59, when a trooper passed me at 70 in a 55, again just "leading the pack." I remember him, and he'll remember me. He tried to intimidate me after I flashed my headlights at him, and it backfired.

And then there is McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren, who got a ticket on January 5 in Vilas County, Wisconsin, for 70 in a 55 zone. In his take-home car. What was a McHenry County vehicle doing 300 miles from the County, when a deputy can't even get a take-home car, if he doesn't live in McHenry County?

Nygren bought gas for his vehicle (Illinois license plate 196 3705) on December 23, 2011, when he topped off the tank at the County fuel pump with 4.7 gallons at mileage 77,493 miles on the odometer.

The next time he fueled that vehicle was 17 days later, on January 9, 2012, when 18.7 gallons were pumped at 78,759 miles.

If my subtraction is correct, he drove 1,266 miles on the 17 days between fuelings. It's 300 miles from Crystal Lake to Minocqua, Wisc., where one of Nygren's three homes is located. Getting there and back would account for 600 miles. So it looks like he might have driven around 600 miles while he was up north.

Do you suppose he used a personal credit card for the 70 gallons of gas for that trip? Wisconsin gas prices are lower than Illinois', but it appears he didn't top off the tank (at his personal expense) on January 8-9 in Wisconsin, before crossing the state line on the way back.

What would his Department credit card statement show? Any gas purchases between December 23 and January 9? Sure hope the taxpayers didn't foot the bill for $200+ in gas cost for that Christmas holiday trip.

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