The DeKalb County Police Department has another tool to fight crime: squad cars in your neighborhood.
The department unveiled 40 cars on April 3 as part of its new take home car program for selected senior level uniform patrol officers, bringing the total to 87 cars that are in DeKalb’s program.
“Not only does it boost morale and present the department with the opportunity to reward officers for their hard work, the additional cars increases visibility and shows residents we are their neighbors and working alongside them to keep DeKalb County safe,” said Deputy Chief Operating Officer of Public Safety Cedric Alexander.
A committee of officers and sergeants developed the rules, regulations and scoring points system for the program, said Interim Police Chief James Conroy. Officers selected for the program must live within DeKalb County. Their years of service and engagement within the department outside of their daily assignments also are considered for assignment of the cars, he said.
The department, which currently has 400 officers, hopes to eventually provide all of its officers with a vehicle to take home, Conroy said. DeKalb developed the program to compete with other counties like Gwinnett, which uses a take home car policy to attract and retain officers, he said.
“It’s going to improve our efficiency, improve our visibility, improve morale amongst our officers, improve our retention rate and save the county money in the long run,” said Conroy, adding that take home cars often are treated better than “pool cars.”
Conroy said 80 of the vehicles are brand new, while seven have been refurbished. All of the cars have the latest technology for work on the road.
The distribution of the take home cars for sworn police officers reflects the commitment from Interim CEO Lee May in his State of the County address and the approval from the Board of Commissioners in the 2014 adopted budget.
DeKalb Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton, who attended the unveiling, said she is excited about the roll out of the program.
“It has been a long time coming. It is going to help in crime prevention,” said Barnes-Sutton, who, as chair of the Board of Commissioners’ budget committee pushed for funding the program.