Someone posted pictures of Kansas City, Kan., police cars with peeling paint, rust, torn upholstery and loose trim to Facebook on Sunday.
The pictures, posted to the page Police Cars Matter, have led to disciplinary actions against three officers and a civilian employee with the department. The disciplinary actions include two suspensions.
Kansas City, Kan., Police Chief Terry Zeigler confirmed that at least one person was suspended, but he wouldn’t discuss how many or the issues or reasons surrounding the disciplinary actions.
The discipline has not gone through the grievance process yet, so he didn’t want to comment out of fear it could jeopardize the process.
“We have a social media policy,” Zeigler said. “It’s a personnel matter and we are looking into that.”
The pictures were posted to the page on Sunday and show cars with exposed wiring, torn upholstery, loose trim, rust and peeling paint.
On Monday, Zeigler tweeted that 28 new cars would be hitting the streets this year.
“There’s a lot of good things going on in the PD,” he said. “We are working on fixing the car issue.”
The new cars will have new lighting and computer systems, including tablets that will allow the department to move to a paperless system.
Until recently, the last time the department bought new vehicles was in 2013 when it bought 22 of the new Ford Police Interceptor utility vehicle.
The department bought 10 more of the vehicles at the end of 2015 and about another 20 in January. He said six of those cars would be hitting the streets in the next week or so.
“It disappoints me,” Zeigler said about the Facebook posting. “The Ford Crown Vic has been a great police car for a lot of years.”
Unfortunately, the last ones the department bought had defects causing the paint to peel outside of warranty. In 2008, there was the downturn in the economy and the department didn’t have the money to repaint the vehicles, he said.
He said it is up to the officers to take care of the inside of the vehicles.
With about 300 vehicles in its fleet, it will take some time for the department to replace its fleet. The department is in the middle of the budgeting process and is requesting to be able to purchase another 30 patrol vehicles next year, he said.
“It will take us a few years to get rid of all of the Crown Vics,” Zeigler said. “We will phase them out as quickly as we can … Our fleet didn’t get into this condition overnight.”
But things are moving forward, he said.