$10 Million for Unused BMWs

In 2016, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) undertook a huge environmental initiative to lower vehicle emissions. Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck held a press conference in which they got out of a BMW electric vehicle and touted the vehicle its “patrol car of the future today.”

BMW subsequently won a contract to provide electric cars to LAPD, delivering 100 cars each year for three years, to be leased at the cost of $10.2 million, including the necessary charging stations. The cars were to be used immediately for administrative purposes and non-emergencies.

Investigative reporter David Goldstein of KCBS television examined department records and found that some of the cars are sitting unused in garages. Some are equipped with onboard cameras, and have only a few hundred miles on the odometer after one year of being leased. Other vehicles were being misused for such things as driving out of city limits, grabbing lunch or taking an LAPD commander to get a manicure.

Goldstein reported that one car in service since May 2016 has only 400 miles on it. With a monthly lease payment of $418, the car has cost taxpayers $15 per mile of operation.

LAPD Deputy Chief Jorge Villegas said the money was well-spent. “It’s all a part of saving the earth, going green and quite frankly, to try and save money for the community and the taxpayers,” he said. (Source: CBS Los Angeles, January 16.)

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