Odessa Police Department Proposing Budget for Patrol Officer Take-Home Fleet

Odessa Police Department Proposing Budget for Patrol Officer Take-Home Fleet
By Alicia Neaves
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - The Odessa Police Department could be offering a new incentive to their patrol officers. They could get the opportunity to take their patrol cars home. They say this not only could help reduce crime but they could also save some money.

It's a program already implemented by the Midland Police Department and ECISD. Now, the Odessa Police Department is proposing a budget so they can have their very own take-home fleet.

"We need more incentives for officers so this would definitely be a step in the right direction," Cpl. Steve LeSueur, Public Information Officer for the Odessa Police Department, said.

OPD's K9 units, traffic, detectives and command staff already have take home vehicles. If this proposition is passed, it would allow the same for patrol officers.

"It would give more of a presence in our community, which in turn could help voluntary compliance of some citizens," Andrea Goodson, Public Information Officer for the City of Odessa, said.

Not just a heavier presence but also faster response times and immediate accessibility to crucial equipment.

"If they're in their personal vehicle, obviously they do not have access to their on-camera video system. If an officer has a take home vehicle they're going to be able to turn on their camera right away," LeSueur said.

At the moment, one patrol car is used for multiple shifts.

"One patrol vehicle is shared among four shifts within a one week period," LeSueur said.

This means more wear and tear on the vehicle. 

OPD says with a new take home fleet, maintenance costs could decrease due to the accountability of owning a work car.

"It is a work in progress and ultimately whatever the council decides, we respect that decision," LeSueur said.

"The proposal has been made, it is in the city manager's office under review. The city manager will present a proposed budget to council," Goodson said.

The proposal is predicted to be handed over to the city council within the next few weeks. If that's the case, after a budget retreat, there will be a public hearing during a council meeting in late July or early August.