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Indianapolis Police Faces Cruiser Shortage

INDIANAPOLIS -- Public safety officials are working to ensure a shortage of Indianapolis Metro Police Department cars doesn't jeopardize the community's safety.

Fratenal Order of Police President Bill Owensby said no funds were budgeted to buy new cars in 2012. He said the shortage of vehicles comes at a critical period because more than half of all marked police cruisers have exceeded 100,000 miles.

"I think it's very critical right now. We don't have a fleet. We don't have replacement vehicles, and we don't have pool cars," Owensby said.

Public Safety Director Dr. Frank Straub and IMPD Chief Paul Ciesielski declined to acknowledge the shortage of vehicles.

"I don't want to talk about that. It's a budget thing," Ciesielski said.

The chief's command staff has addressed the issue with patrol officers, warning of a critical shortage and the lack of replacements. One supervisor warned that if the problem gets any worse, officers may be forced to double up.

"We double up. So, tell me, where's the productivity in that when you have one car for two beats?" one officer said.

Owensby accused the administration of dropping the ball on maintaining a robust fleet of police vehicles.

"You're not going to be able to attain the kind of crime reduction that you expect if you don't have police vehicles out there," he said. "When we double up, we lose productivity when you have one car covering two beats."

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