Reversal of police car decision a win-win

Published 1:01 am Sunday, September 4, 2011

The people have spoken and the City of Vicksburg has listened. A win-win.

Two weeks ago, the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen passed a policy change that would require most police officers to drive their personal cars to and from work so their cruisers could remain at police headquarters overnight.

The move, the city said, would save the city money in gasoline. We applaud the city’s effort to try to find belts to tighten and purse strings to pinch.

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Then came the outcry.

Aldermen said they were inundated with concerns from the community about the plan. Residents said they felt safer with marked patrol cars parked in neighborhoods across the city. Criminals, we would hope, also would be less likely to act out with a patrol car in proximity.

Police Chief Walter Armstrong, who favored the reversal of the policy, also pointed to emergency response times. He pointed to a storm on Aug. 20 when a shift was called back in to work early to assist with emergency response.

The original decision came on the heels of a community meeting in which Armstrong pleaded for neighborhood involvement in fighting crime.

Residents got involved and influenced a change in policy that will benefit everyone.

Cuts still will have to be found as the city grapples with a budget shortfall. City and Warren County officials are winding up budgets for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

In our form of government, officials are elected by the people to do the people’s work. In this case, the people spoke; the elected officials listened.

Exactly how local governments should work. It’s a Democracy.