LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

FOP and Metro Government at odds over take home police cars


WAVE 3 has uncovered a showdown that is brewing between Louisville Metro and its police union. Friday, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) filed an unfair practice complaint with the Department of Labor. It is the first time that has been done that under the merged government. At issue -- how much a take home car is worth? WAVE 3's Janelle MacDonald looked into these new developments.

To make up its $9-million budget shortfall, Louisville Metro government announced last month officers who have off duty jobs would have to pay $60 each month for their take home cruisers. The police union says that is not fair because the city is taking away a benefit officers have come to expect with no input from the union.

If you drive just about anywhere in Louisville, it usually doesn't take long before you run across a Louisville Metro Police car. Some of them are on-duty cops, but others are not. They are just police officers going about their business in their take home cruiser.

FOP president John McGuire says, "Those officers are out there, they are available to be called to service."

It's a benefit most LMPD officers enjoy, but one that cops who work off duty jobs will soon have to pay for.

"Sixty dollars, which, in today's gas is about a fill up of gas," says Chad Carlton, spokesperson for Mayor Abramson.

McGuire says the amount is not the point. It is a change in what officers have come to expect.

"It was sold to them as a benefit of their employment, the use of this car for off duty purposes including off duty employment," says McGuire.

According to McGuire, the change came without the union and the city ever sitting down to negotiate and that violates state labor law. He hopes this complaint will force the Metro government to the bargaining table.Carlton says a police officer having a take-home car is "Not a right or a privilege." In fact, Carlton says the charge for officers who work off duty jobs was in an effort to save the entire take-home car policy.

"Somebody's got to bear that responsibility. If it's not the officer who's using that for a second job, it's going to be our taxpayers," said Carlton.

Carlton says LMPD Chief Robert White reports most officers are OK with the new policy, saying it's the fairest way to do it. However, McGuire says beyond the bargaining issue, the whole policy is unfair because officers are charged the same amount, no matter how much they use the cruiser for their off duty job.