Sun, Nov 14, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Police accused of unfairly `trying out' new vehicles

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Senior officers of the Kaohsiung City Police Department yesterday denied that they took advantage of their authority to use the brand new police patrol vehicles for private use while regular officers are still using old patrol cars and motorcycles.

"It remains a rumor and it is impossible for our superior officers to do so," said Chung Kuo-feng (鍾國峰), director of the Logistics Division of the Kaohsiung City Police Department. "We just finished inspecting these new patrol cars and scooters and will gradually retire those old ones. It takes time."

Kaohsiung City Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) recently proposed a NT$42 million budget -- which was approved by the Kaohsiung City Council -- to purchase 68 brand new police patrol cars and 113 scooters for the Kaohsiung City Police Department. Among the 68 police vehicles, 37 of them are 3-liter vehicles, 24 of them are 2-liter, six of them are 2.7-liter minivans and one is a 2.6 liter minivan.

Chinese-language news media reported yesterday that heads of the city police department took advantage of their authority and "forced" the logistics department to assign 10 of these 3-liter cars to replace their old transportation so they could "try out" these vehicles before they are assigned to the officers who need them.

The Kaohsiung City Police Department is in desperate need of new vehicles, especially the department's Criminal Investigation Corps (CIC), a spokesperson for the CIC said.

Kaohsiung CIC officers are still riding the Honda "King 150" motorcycles, purchased in 1997, which are all clearly marked as police vehicles. The Agency's regulations regarding the use of police vehicles states that two officers must share one "King 150." These four-speed manual-shift motorcycles are large and slow. As for patrol cars, most of the Kaohsiung CIC vehicles are 2.0 liter Ford Telstars, which are eight years old on average. According to the CIC, these vehicles spend most of their time in maintenance shops instead of on the road.

"The CIC is one of our priorities,and they will get new vehicles -- that is for sure," Chung said.

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