Monday, July 21, 2008

Proposed Solutions for the Northern Utah Police Fuel Price Crisis

Chief Greiner's proposed draconian solution faces off with some less publicly burdensome alternatives

A couple of weeks back, we focused on another dire consequence of the current fuel price crisis, noting that upwardly-spiraling gas prices are putting a crimp in northern Utah police department budgets. The OPD fuel budget, in particular, reportedly suffered a $130 thousand shortfall during the past fiscal year, according to this July 6 Standard-Examiner story.

But we learn from yesterday's Std-Ex story (The SL-Trib has the AP version this morning too) that Ogden City Police Chief Greiner hasn't been simply twiddling his thumbs while the situation's continued to fester however. He's put on his thinking cap, and has come up with this possible solution: A traffic ticket surcharge. Here's more from yesterday's Sam Cooper story:

OGDEN — With record fuel prices stretching budgets, two police agencies in the Top of Utah are considering proposing a fuel surcharge on some traffic violations to help offset rising costs.
Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner said Friday he would like to add the surcharge to traffic tickets and accident-related citations, but is awaiting a legal review of the idea before moving forward. Adding the charge would require the city council to adopt a new city ordinance, he said. [...]
With uncertainty about future energy costs and the possibility of a full year of $4-a-gallon gasoline, the additional revenue could help the agency avoid making cuts in other areas.
A $20 surcharge on tickets associated with traffic accidents could generate between $55,000 and $60,000 per year, Greiner said.
Chief Greiner isn't entirely sure this idea is legal however. The story further reports that he has the Ogden City Attorney's office checking it out.

A traffic ticket surcharge? Why not? It seems a another clever way to squeeze a little more milk from the trusty Justice Court Cash Cow. With thousands of motorists blithely driving around Ogden every day, the lumpencitizens are ripe for the pickings.

Still, Chief Greiner's solution seemed a mite heavy handed, we thought, particularly in these hard economic times, as more than a few lumpencitizens are scrambling to put food on the family dinner table. It's one thing to milk the Godfrey administration cash cow; and quite another to march her down to the slaughter-house, we think. And being the curious type, we googled, and came up with this interesting story from yesterday's online New York Times edition, discussing how other U.S. police agencies are coping with the fuel price crisis:

As Gas Prices Rise, Police Turn to Foot Patrols

Police officers walking a beat? Now there's a novel and innovative idea. Whether it will catch on with the Chief, who patrols Ogden's streets in his air-conditioned Cadillac we don't know. And whether it would be popular for patrol officers who'd be required to "hoof it" for a few shifts every week (and mingle with the citizenry) remains another unanswered question. Foot patrolling isn't the only innovation mentioned in the article however.

Lest we be accused of being dreaded naysayers, who never come up with alternative solutions, how about something like this:


OPD could buy two or three of these fast, agile and fuel efficient (51 mpg urban/64 mpg highway) American-made Buell "police specials" for the price of every one of its present passenger sedan gas-guzzlers; and we doubt this cool and sexy mode of transportation would find much objection among patrol officers. Most of the traditional squad cars could be mothballed for the warmer summer months, and the OPD could thus save beau coup fuel bucks.

And what say our readers about all this? Are there any among the intellectual giants of Weber County Forum who have other creative police agency fuel saving ideas?

8 comments:

Mini Fan said...

Here is an economical idea... 37 m.p.g.

Minis... proven police duty reliable!

Mini Fan also said...

TINY 1957 BMW ISETTA GERMAN POLICE CAR - WHERE DO YOU PUT THE PERP?

Greiner needs to forget the Republican mantra, picking the pockets of taxpayers.

Join the green revolution, Herr Greiner!

Dave said...

>>>Chief Greiner isn't entirely sure this idea is legal however.

Since when did that ever matter with the Godfrey administration?

Mini Fan said...

Here's a nice fuel economical 4-season police car serving as a police vehicle in Rome:

TINY ITALIAN POLICE CAR - ROME

For Harrisvile residents... I'm talking about Rome, Italy.

OgdenLover said...

What a coincidence. The OPD fuel shortfall for 2008 nearly equals the amount of money the CC has been asked to donate to the icicle project.

Why not look at City Hall for this money. Surely the Mayor has some loose change floating around somewhere.

Al Gore said...

I'd suggest that you Utahns collect all the methane gas that emits from the nitwitted Godfrey and Greiner administrations, convert it to elctricity, and sell it back to the power grid for electrical power generation credits.

disgusted said...

why wasn't the fuel cost shortage addressed in the budget surplus from last year and some of that surplus set aside for next year potential short fall?

godfrey thinks of more ways to raise our taxes and service fees while stating that he does not raise taxes. if this goes through watch what he does in the way of fuel surchatges for trash collection water meter readers and snow removal just to mention a few.

drewmeister said...

umm....

$100k for frozen dildo study.

$130k gas shortfall on failed budget

$60k from traffic ticket surcharge (and an increased quota, I'm sure..)

$120k salary for His Foreheadedness

Seems to me if we eliminate the last option, that nearly covers the shortfall!

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