Pearl River leaders find compromise on take-home cars

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 16, 2013 at 7:08 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 16 at 7:20 PM

Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
Email: arodrigue@wwltv.com | Twitter: @ashleyrwwl

PEARL RIVER, La. -- Pearl River town leaders met Monday in hopes of settling an issue involving police take-home cars, which we told you about last week.

However, some feel there may be unfairness in the proposed budget for the town overall.

At issue front-and-center Monday was the fate of Pearl River police cars and what happens to them after a shift is over. The mayor wants every car left at City Hall when not on duty to save money in next year's budget. The police department and citizens argue vehicles in neighborhoods help deter crime.

But Monday, Mayor James Lavigne joined the Board of Aldermen and the police chief to meet in the middle.

“I mean the purpose of it was to try to cut back and save some money somehow," Lavigne said during the meeting. "There's no other place you could cut."

Alderman David McQueen said, "I love to see the cars in town parked in the neighborhoods."

So the compromise put on the table allows officers who live within the three-mile city limits to bring the cars home. Those who don't have to park them after work.

"Every vehicle that an officer takes home is needed to us for emergencies," said JJ. Jennings, president of the Pearl River Fraternal Order of Police #53. "But any compromise is better than nothing at all."

When asked what he was hoping to save, the mayor told Eyewitness News, “The cars and stuff really is staying because of complaints and stuff. Really not money issues. It’s going to help some. It might help $10 or $15,000. I don't know. We'll have to give it a test to see."

Although the police car issue seems to have a compromise for now, at least one council member said the police department shouldn't be the only place the town is looking to cut to fix its financial crunch.

"If we're supposed to be, as far as my opinion with the council, looking over the numbers and knowing the numbers, we have to have those numbers before us, for all of the departments, not just his," said Alderwoman Kat Walsh.

Action is expected on the police car compromise issue at the town’s next general meeting.

 

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