By Patrick Yost
Effective immediately, Madison Police Department officers will be able to drive their patrol cars home.
In a unanimous vote Monday night, the Madison City Council approved a request by Madison City Manager David Nunn and Madison Police Department Chief Bill Ashburn to allow the officers to drive the vehicles home, if they live within 25 miles of the city of Madison.
Ashburn said the policy mirrored similar policies regarding ‘take home cars” in law enforcement departments that are contiguous with Madison. The policy, Nunn said, has proven to be beneficial to maintaining the vehicle and to help the department as a recruiting tool.
The city was equipped with enough vehicles to institute the policy, he said. “We have the vehicles in place now for this to take affect immediately.”
He also said that the policy did not allow for officers to use patrol cars for personal reasons or to allow family members to ride in the vehicles.
“This is a privilege that the city is extending to the officers. It’s not a right,” he said. “It could be revoked at any time.”
In other city council business the council:
• Approved a request by Judy Smith and Virginia McFaddin for a conditional use permit to operate a dog and cat grooming business. Smith told the council that the business would not board animals and that animals would be in the 130 West Washington Street structure owned by McFaddin only while they were being groomed. The Madison Planning Commission had unanimously approved the request at its last meeting.
• Approved a pawn shop amendment that, according to Chief Ashburn, will expedite the way the department receives information on pawned items from the city’s two pawn shops. The process, he said, is similar to state efforts and allows the department to capture serial numbers and identifiers on items quickly so they can be reconciled with stolen items.