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MCSD - 106 take-home cars!!!!!!!

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois Emergency Services Vehicles

MCSD - 106 take-home cars!!!!!!!

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
February 7, 2011

Thanks to Cal Skinner and the McHenry County Blog, residents and taxpayers of McHenry County now have an idea where their money is going at the sheriff's department.

Cal requested information about the take-home cars, and the first response to his inquiry resulted in only a list of names (Cal published 27 names) but no titles. Cal requested the titles, and today he published the entire list. There are 106 take-home cars assigned at the sheriff's dept. 106. One hundred six. ONE HUNDRED SIX.

What is the purpose of rewarding a deputy or supervisor or anyone else with a take-home car? The fat cats at the top of the pile will offer reasons, such as emergency response, if needed. And "presence" on the roads, as if that will make any difference. We already know that drivers ignore police cars driven by uniformed officers. Why would they pay attention to marked squad cars driven by someone not in uniform?

How many times in the past 24 months do you suppose a deputy has been called from his home and told to respond to an emergency? Ever?

These cars are a bonus. Deputies with take-home cars avoid wear-and-tear on the family buggy. Maybe they don't even own a personal car for their own use.

Who picks up the tab for commuting mileage? IRS has something to say about that. The deputy should be billed for personal use of the car. Is he being billed?

Who pays for the fuel for the deputy to drive back and forth? The sheriff's department? At the beginning of his shift, does the deputy go from home straight to his assigned territory? Most likely, not. He first goes to the sheriff's department for rollcall. And at the end of the shift? Back to the department before going home.

ONE HUNDRED SIX take-home cars. What investment/expenditure does that represent of taxpayer dollars? And why would the sheriff has a $75,000 Chevy Tahoe with heated leather seats, if what I was told is correct? What's wrong with a Lumina sedan?

And what about the policy that a take-home car is to be returned to the Sheriff's Department parking lot, if a deputy is off more than three days, or is on vacation or some other type of leave, say a medical leave? That's a pretty good rule.

But does it apply, if you happen to be Chief of Corrections?

Who else can be in the take-home car? I've been told, "no one." You can't use it to haul the kiddies to school or to a doctor's appointment. You can't put your spouse in the car and head off to the movies. Why not? Risk to the passenger. What if you are needed to respond to an emergency? What do you do? Tell your spouse to get out and hail a cab?

So then it makes sense that your spouse can't drive your take-home car; for example, to visit you in the hospital. And she can't haul other family members in that car for that trip to the hospital.

Maybe I should FOIA mileage records on that car? Will any discipline follow for abusing that policy? (OK, you can stop laughing now.)

Read Cal's article at http://www.mchenrycountyblog.com/

If it's a few days before you head there to read the article, you'll find it at http://mchenrycountyblog.com/2011/02/07/what-the-sheriffs-department-employees-who-take-cars-home-do/

Good work, Cal!

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