Some Conway police officers will now be able to take their cop cars home. The Conway City Council voted unanimously at its Tuesday meeting to approve the change.
Conway Police Chief Dale Long said the change will help with attracting and retaining police officers. He also said having the cars in neighborhoods will help keep communities safe as people will know their is an officer nearby.
Retention between municipal police departments and the Horry County Police Department was a contentious issue during many of the county races leading into the 2018 Republican primaries in June. Local public safety departments have been looking for ways to hold on to experienced officers.
Keeping their cars will help police officers save money on their commutes to and from work. Not all officers are included in the program. Long said that class-1 officers who live within 10 miles of work and have not had any recent disciplinary actions qualify. A little more than 20 officers currently meet the requirements.
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The program will cost at most an additional $11,000 per year to cover the additional gas, depending on how much travel is needed.
Still, the hope is that the program will ultimately save money. Conway looked at other police departments and determined cars assigned to one officer cost 51 percent less to maintain and last on average four years longer than shared cars.
The Conway Police Department currently has enough cars for the program, although one car will need to have its computer system updated.
“We certainly believe the benefits outweigh the cost,” Conway Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy said.