Santa Fe Chief Looks to Change Car Take-Home Policy

The Santa Fe police chief wants to change the department's take-home car policy in hopes of saving the city money and make the community safer.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --

The Santa Fe police chief wants to change the department's take-home car policy in hopes of saving the city money and make the community safer.

But his plan is driving a wedge between him and some officers who say the chief is taking away one of their most powerful recruiting tools.

"We've been working as a community to bring our firefighters, our police officers, our teachers and our nurses home," Mayor David Coss said.

The Santa Fe Police Chief Ray Rael proposed that all new officers will have to live within 20 miles of Santa Fe, instead of the current policy, which is 60 miles.

Another part of the chief's plan is limiting the amount of gas the officers use each week. The chief said that limit was already part of the policy, but was never enforced before.

"I think there's some community perception and some belief that officers who live in the neighborhood are more vested in their community," Rael said.

Union leaders said they want a voice in the decision.

"They're just doing whatever they want and violating the officers' rights," Union President Allan Lopez said.

Some officers said they worried that the chief's ideas would deter good, qualified officers from considering the Santa Fe police force because it was more expensive to live there.

That's why the city said it was considering incentives like a housing allowance and paying for utilities.

The chief is waiting for an analysis, to know for sure how much money it will save the city.

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