Local Businesses Sponsor Ogden Police Cars

Local Businesses Sponsor Ogden Police Cars

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Keith McCord ReportingCity and state budgets around the country are feeling a pinch these days and everyone, from council members to congressmen, is trying to make ends meet.

In some cases, for instance the Ogden Police Department, it takes a little "creative financing" to keep things going.

At first glance the police cars look normal and they are. But if you were to look closely at the rear window you would discover a small round decal, which says, for example, "Ogden City Thanks Lindquist Mortuary".

Jon Greiner, Ogden Police Chief: "We thought this would be a good way to allow the community to be involved with what their tax dollars are spent for."

Ogden's Police Department hasn't had a new vehicle since 1999. Older cars in the fleet have had constant maintenance problems.

With a tight budget and low morale within the department, local business-leaders in the community decided to help. Ten businesses stepped up and offered to pay the leases on some brand new 2003 Crown Victoria's.

Jon Greiner, Ogden Police Chief: "It's a three year lease with the local car dealer. At the end of three years the city owns the vehicle for a dollar. . . and so they're making 3-years worth of payments, one year at a time."

In exchange for the payment the businesses have a decal, which recognizes their donation. So the force gets ten brand new cars for the city at a taxpayer cost of zero.

Ogden is the only police department in the state that's trying the sponsored-vehicle program. But the idea is quite popular in other parts of the country.

A national company called Government Acquisitions puts advertisements like this on law enforcement vehicles in several states that make the cars look more like a moving billboard. The Ogden approach is more low-key, with the participating businesses less concerned about the PR, and more interested in investing in their community.

Jon Greiner, Ogden Police Chief: "Is it fair to say that the city probably wasn't going to be able to afford ten brand new Crown Victorias had you not done this? That's a fair way to say that!"

Even during tough economic times a community figures out a way to move forward. The police chief says since the word got out this week about the patrol car sponsorship program, his phone has been ringing from other business leaders who want to be involved.

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