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Council Balks At Letting Police Take Home Cars Outside City Limits

Currently only police officers who live within St. Charles city limits are able to take home police cars.

Interim Police Chief Larry Stulce has asked the city council to consider allowing members of the Special Response Team and on-call detectives to take home a police vehicle even if they live outside St. Charles. 

Currently, only officers who live in the city limits of St. Charles can bring home police cars. Exceptions are made for the police chief, mounted patrol officers and canine officers. 

The SRT team has 12 officers, four of whom live outside the city. SRT team members could be called in while they are off duty to respond to a scene that would need additional manpower. 

Stulce said it could take those officers 15 minutes to an hour to leave their residence, drive to police headquarters to pick up their police car and respond to the scene. 

Councilman Jerry Reese, Ward-6, said he's not comfortable with an officer who lives 30 or 40 minutes from the city taking home a police vehicle, adding that he wants to know where the officers live before supporting a change.

"I don't want to do this again where they could live in Kansas City if they want to and drive a car home," he said. "We've fought this battle once. We're opening up a can of worms to do it again."

In July 2003, the city council cut in half the number of police officers allowed to take home police vehicles. Then in June 2004, a newly-elected council changed the ordinance to limit it to officers who live in city limits.

Councilman David Beckering, Ward-7, said this would not be open to all officers but limited to members of the SRT. He said he'd like to see some sort of geographical limit to where officers could live. 

"We can't let this get out of control," he said.  

Councilman Mike Klinghammer, Ward-8, wondered how a geographical limit would impact officers being considered for SRT jobs in the future. 

Stulce said there could be some sort of residential requirement. 

The council could consider this bill at the July 24 meeting. 

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