Plow Truck to a Dentist? Brentwood Officials Wrestle with City Vehicle Use
Alderman Anthony Harper used an extreme example to spark a discussion about proper use of city vehicles.
The conversation continued at last night’s Public Safety Committee meeting.
Fire Chief Ted Jury said they have no policy on the topic.
“When the guys go to these type of events, a school, public event, they’re always in service," he said. "They have the ability to respond from where ever they’re at. Brentwood’s a small town. It’s only two square miles, so they’re never far away from any one place. I don’t think it causes a problem, but that's my opinion.”
He said it’s never been brought to him before the issue at Mary Magdalen.
Police Chief Steve Disbennett said he expects officers to stay in Brentwood when they’re in marked vehicles, though they’re allowed to go out of the city for something to eat, within a short distance.
Any misuse of city vehicles are with dealt with case by case, and most of the time it’s reported to him through a citizen, he said.
Kramer repeated what he said at the last meeting, that fire and police officers need to be able respond to an emergency.
“I think the overriding guideline has got to be if they’re in service, and not out of service, they need to be within striking distance of their vehicle,” Kramer said.
Harper said it’s the committee’s obligation to make a policy about city-wide vehicles. Then he took Kramer’s “overriding guideline” a different direction, getting back to the question of personal or city government use of city vehicles.
“Would it be OK for someone to use a plow truck to go to a dentist in Brentwood? Because they’re still in Brentwood and they’re within striking distance of the plow truck,” he said.
He said he’s not talking about taking a truck to lunch, because he knows they have to do that.
“Dental?” Wynn said. “You don’t know how long you’re gong to be in there. You might be under gas.”
Jury said nothing like that ever happens.
“I would tell them no if somebody came to me,” he said. “Nobody would ask to do that on duty. They would go off duty.”
Kramer agreed with Harper about that kind of use of a city vehicle.
“Within striking distance is a visitation of an event or business in Brentwood,” Kramer said. “The policy would clearly state this is not to allow personal appointments or personal business, which would take them away from striking distance of the vehicle.”
He said ideally they wouldn’t have to make an ironclad policy, “because we want to be the city of warmth of at all possible, but I hear your point. Yes, to me there is a difference.”
Human Resources Manager Julie Echols said the current policy is vague, “but I think it would be adequate to cover a situation where somebody was taking a vehicle and using for personal reasons, because that would be improper use of city equipment.”
She said if they want more detail, the committee will have to define what city-approved business is.
Though Wynn said he doesn’t like more rules and regulations than necessary, and he doesn’t think more are needed here, he agreed to have Echols draft a policy from the discussion for the committee to review at the next meeting.
Also in Patch:
- Brentwood Paramedic Drives Ambulance to Daughter's Volleyball Game, Prompts Public Safety Committee Discussion