TOLEDO -- You can't watch a NASCAR race without seeing ads plastered all over the side of the cars. Now Toledo Police are considering adding small, tasteful advertisements to the side of their cars. Why? The Toledo Police Association says most of the cars now are old and unsafe and the city doesn't have enough money to buy more.
"Some of them have holes in the floorboard. You drive them, you can just feel them shaking all over the road," said Dan Wagner as he described the condition of the city's police car fleet. Wagner is president of the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association, and he says 120 vehicles in the fleet have more than 100,000 miles.
Wagner says poor tires or other parts are contributing to accidents like one last Christmas on Glendale. "The rear of the patrol car was smashed all the way into the back seat. Had there been a prisoner [in the car], there could have been an injured prisoner," said Wagner.
The department had requested 30 new cars to help the problem, but they were cut from the city budget that's facing a $10 million dollar shortfall. "As you can see, we're in dire straights," said Wagner. That's why he's supporting a new look - the look of ads on a cruiser's rear fender. "Dunken Donuts is one of the first ones you wouldn't want just because of the jokes coming out of it," said Wagner.
The Patrolman's Association actually fought the idea for five years, fearing what the ads would look like and what companies would buy them. "If you're going to have advertising on the vehicle but that vehicle's safe for officers to drive, you gotta give somewhere," said Wagner.
So when asked again last week, Wagner changed his mind, saying they're desperate for cars, from any source. "Who would think that a public service is up for sale?" said Wagner.
Posted by AEB