Pocahontas PD trying to conserve fuel budget

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - The high cost to fill-up is forcing everyone to make adjustments, including police departments across Region Eight. In Pocahontas, the police chief is changing operations to keep the fuel budget in line.

"Well, it's hurting already," said Pocahontas Police Chief Cecil Tackett.

When it comes to any police department, fuel plays a big part of day-to-day operations. "In our fuel budget for 2011, we were 33-thousand dollars over," said Tackett.

And with the cost of gas ticking up faster than many can keep up with, Tackett is trying to keep the fuel budget from running on fumes. "Everybody is having to make adjustment, whether it's the police department or the street department. I'm trying to save the fuel, but still provide the services to the community that we need," said Tackett.

For starters, cutting one of the patrol cars during the day-shift. "If these guys get in a bind out there and we're down a car, either myself or one of the CID guys will start taking calls just to keep the vehicle from running," said Tackett.

But that's not all. "One of the things we are doing is finding centralized locations so we can set up were can be anywhere in five minutes instead of having to drive all across town," said Tackett.

Since the beginning of the year, Tackett reviews the fuel cost monthly with a fine toothed comb. "I monitor each patrol unit. We're keeping up with the mileage," said Tackett.

The adjustments have appeared to help with fuel usage down 10 to 15 percent, but as fuel prices rise that 10 to 15 percent tends to get eaten up. Tackett says it's if or when the gas prices reach the four dollar mark that even more will have to be done.

"I'm trying to save as much fuel as I can now where the prices are at now that way if later on in the year, of course our savings is not going to be there as the fuel prices rise," said Tackett.

Mayor Frank Bigger says the police department budgeted the fuel cost to be around $3.35 per gallon. Right now, Bigger say the budget is in line where it should be for the month of March, but an increase could stretch the department's fuel budget thin.@

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