GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — The Greensboro City Council approved the purchase of 20 new police cars as a part of the department’s effort to recruit and retain officers.
Wednesday night, the city council voted unanimously to go ahead with the purchase after months of debate.
The 20 new patrol cars will take anywhere from six to seven months to come in and cost just over $1 million. The money is coming from the city’s budget.
It’s part of a five-phase plan to add 100 new cars to the fleet.
“This is just a piece of the puzzle, the position I’m in as chief is there are all these agencies around me that have something we don’t have,” Chief Brian James said.
James is trying to increase the fleet of patrol cars so every patrol officer can take a vehicle home. He says his department is losing officers to other neighboring departments that already offer the perk.
A take-home vehicle also reduces call response time and helps officers get more police work done.
Now, an officer comes to the station, searches for a car, then loads all their equipment and gear from their personal vehicle to the patrol car.
“When you have an officer that spends 45 minutes to an hour transferring all his equipment, everything he needs in order to do his job… you’ve lost 45 minutes of police time, that’s a lot of time,” Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter said.
The Greensboro Police Department is trying to fill 90 positions.
“If an officer leaves today, it will take me a minimum of a year to replace that officer,” James said.
Other city leaders have some concerns the patrol cars won’t be spread out enough across the city to deter crime in all neighborhoods.
They requested a breakdown of where patrol officers live from James to take a closer look at before they approve the purchase of more vehicles.