Police paychecks reflect take-home costs - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Police paychecks reflect take-home costs

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Story by Gordon Boyd
Eyewitness News Reporter

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- Chattanooga officers are now charged, if they drive their patrol cars home.

It's a move our men and women in blue, knew was coming.

But now they've received their first paychecks, with the deduction.

Mayor Littlefield first brought up the idea a year and a half ago: no take home cars for officers, unless they want to pay mileage to and from their precinct.

It was an executive order, meaning council didn't have to approve the cost-saving measure.

But one business owner says he has a solution to make both sides happy.

Restaurateur Tom Getz says it's worth it to him, and to all of us, to adopt a cop, which means paying for one officer to keep taking their squad car home.

But it's an offer the city, and police group leaders, are likely to politely, refuse.

Tom Getz's pizza business is all about "taking it home".

He believes Chattanooga should let police keep doing the same.

"One person can't do anything, but I thought if my business paid for one of the police cars, and promoted other businesses to do that," says Getz.

"The generosity of what he's brought forth is inspiring, and amazing," says Sgt. Craig Joel.

The problem, police advocate, Sergeant Craig Joel says isn't simply that Chattanooga has more officers, and cars than businesses to adopt them.

Those businesses already pay taxes for public safety.

"Asking them to take it out of their pockets on the side, it's horrible that the administration would allow that or put them in the position to do that," says Joel.

Mayor Littlefield's spokesman says nobody in city hall is available to talk about it on camera, thanks to the MLK Holiday. But he says the parking lots should be finished in a couple days, or at least a week.

They'll have to push at the Farmer's Market on 11th Street.

Contractors are digging to lay cable for an electronic gate.

But the fences aren't even up yet and the chief's not letting any officer leave cars in unsecured lots.

"To have the few officers that were forced to pay do so and the rest of them get it for free, because they're so unprepared," says Joel. "I don't think they're words to describe where that places us."

Getz says his offer stands, even if it costs him $300-$500 a month.

Customer Wes Norris is sold.

"They really don't make what they should be making to start with, and I don't believe they should pay for their cars," says Norris. "If he can afford it, go for it."

Mayor Littlefield has suggested that charging for take home could end in July, for officers living within city limits.

A couple of city council members may act Tuesday: trying to set up a fund to cover those costs.

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