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Ask a cop - what's the policy on police/sheriff squad cars going home

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Question - So, I have a question and hopefully an officer could answer. What's the policy on who can take a squad car home and drive it? Friday afternoon I saw an older lady in her late 50's/ early 60's in plain clothes with long red hair driving a black, unmarked charger with the exterior emergency lights on top of the car. I could be wrong, but she certainly didn't look like an officer. Maybe someone's wife or mother? It just kind of makes me wonder about Leo Burch's case where they said he stole the car... it seems to me like there is free reign among city/county vehicles until something happens and then someone has to be pushed under the bus... can someone explain this better?

Answer - Okay, I will start by answering the question regarding the policy. Both Columbus Police and Bartholomew County Sheriff's policy is very similar. First of all, no person other than the officer, another officer or the police mechanic can drive the police vehicle. The vehicles are restricted to stay within the county or adjacent county unless travelling on other authorized trips (training, court, etc.) Family members are permitted to RIDE in the police vehicle while off-duty. The take home car is supposed to be visible while parked at home and not garaged. This is the main purpose of having the take home car policy. 1 of 2

Now, the car that you described does not sound like a police vehicle from this county. Neither CPD or the Sheriff's Department has a solid black unmarked Charger with a light bar on top. If the car has a light bar on top of the vehicle, it will also be marked with the agency decals/badge/etc. I have personally seen the black charger that you are referring to, or one similar, and I am not sure of the origin. It could be a traffic car for escorts of over sized loads, it could be a traffic car for road construction or possibly a volunteer fire department member.

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