The city could save up to $568,000 annually by reducing the quantity of its San Diego Police Department and Fire Rescue take-home vehicles by 23 percent, according to a new city audit report.
Of the 4,200 in the City of San Diego fleet, about 350 are assigned to certain employees to take home with them on a nightly basis. Around 270 cars are for San Diego PD and 48 are used for the fire department employees, and officers who reach a particular rank automatically receive a vehicle.
The audit discovered San Diego lacks a review process for take-home vehicle assignments and associated costs, and many units do not have clearly defined response time expectations.
"The City assigns take-home vehicles to some employees who rarely respond to emergency call backs, who do not have any special skills, or do not require any special equipment when responding to emergencies," the report stated.
The city audit report said reducing the vehicle number by 76 cars would still allow the departments to maintain the ability to respond to emergencies.
Employees reported an additional 23 vehicles that could be eliminated, which would save the city an additional $150,000.
“With financial condition of the city, it’s a prudent time to review,” City Auditor Eduardo Luna said.
San Diego City Council gave the green light to the auditor’s office to plan for an appropriate time to eliminate the additional vehicles.
Luna said that police and fire department officials will confer with their units before the vehicles are taken away, but are hoping to have it done by next year’s budget cycle.