CBS has reported a serious example of government waste by the Los Angeles Police Department, in the purchase and misuse of taxpayer-funded electric cars, which were purchased two years ago for the LAPD in a loudly-praised effort to appear environmentally-friendly.
The multimillion-dollar purchase of a massive fleet of eco-friendly electric BMWS has resulted in cops using the vehicles for personal trips to grab lunch and — in one instance — a visit to a nail salon, according to a local CBS News report.
BMW announced in 2016 that it had beaten out Tesla to win a contract to supply the department with 100 all-electric plug-in vehicles. The cars were to be used exclusively for community outreach and police business.
“We should be thinking green in everything we do,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at the time, adding that the move to electric vehicles would “also save money and resources.”
But a CBS investigative team (see video of their report, below) reviewed mileage logs and followed the electric police cars when they left LAPD garages and found that the cars were being used for anything but police business.
According to the report:
One BMW went straight to a Yoshinoya drive-thru and returned to a police station, CBS reported. Another headed for Loyola Marymount University and picked up someone for a lunch date, and a third deployed to a nail salon for an hour-long manicure.
CBS reported that its investigative team followed Annemarie Sauer, commanding officer of LAPD fiscal operations, as she used a department-issued electric BMW to drive to a nail salon. Sauer, who reportedly spent more than an hour inside the salon and had been seen getting her nails done, said she had “no comment” when she was confronted by a CBS crew.
When CBS showed LAPD Deputy Chief Jorge Villegas video of the officer using a department-owned BMW to head to the nail salon, he said it “doesn’t appear to be” appropriate and promised to look into the matter.
Villegas said that overall, the electric car program has been successful, CBS reported.
Mileage logs obtained by CBS News revealed that many of the cars were underused, posting only a few thousand miles in a fourteen-month period. One of the cars had only 400 miles in that approximate timeframe, according to CBS.
Police sources told reporters that the reason officers have been reluctant to use the cars is because they can only go about 80-100 miles on a charge.
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, “The total cost of the three-year lease for the vehicles: approximately $1.4 million, plus another $1.5 million for the infrastructure to support the department’s growing stable of electric vehicles.”