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NM officials reconsider take-home squads

Budget considerations sited as reason for review — Santa Fe cops cops commute 1.3M miles beyond city limits annually

By Kiera Hay
Albuquerque Journal

Santa Fe police officers living outside the city's limits commute an average of 1.3 million miles to work each year on the municipality's dime, according to a report presented Tuesday to city officials. Nearly 50 live far enough away that the round-trip commute is at least 99 miles. Four officers live in Las Vegas, N.M. and travel about 120 miles to and from work each day, putting an average of just over 24,000 miles on their patrol cars annually. Altogether, just over 150 members of the police force take advantage of a city policy that allows them to take their "company cars" home.

Around 84 officers commute at least 9 miles. Another 68 Santa Fe-based officers also take their cars home, but no mileage numbers were provided for them. Deputy Police Chief Robin Contreras said the work life of most police cars generally ends between 85,000 and 100,000 miles, although Santa Fe does maintain a handful of cars with mileages above that. Santa Fe's typical police car, a Chevy Impala, costs around $35,000. The cost of gas and basic maintenance for commuting cars amounts to around $130,819 annually, according to the report.

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