The Kissimmee Police department is spending almost $34,000 to restripe its police cars in a move they say will improve their image in the community. Mayor Jim Swan says the move from blue and yellow stripes to black ones has been a work in progress.
"They had planned to do this for the last two years, but they had planned to do it over several years of budget. They were able to get some federal dollars and/or finding some forfeiture, and then do it all at once to have some continuity in the entire fleet."
The nearly $34,000 will com from drug forfeiture cash. That type of money is often used for equipment a police department would normally not be able to afford. For example, the Kissimmee Police department just spent $12,000 to get a new K-9. Mayor Swan says spending seized drug money this way is worth it.
"Well, I think it looks pretty unprofessional if you've got a fourth of your fleet painted this way, and another 4th painted a different way."
We found old, new, and completely unstriped police cruisers in the parking lot at Kissimmee Police. When pressed about why Kissimmee Police would spend money on restriping that does not fight crime in any way, Mayor Jim Swan says the police department needs to have uniform vehicles.
"To me, that's an image thing. I imagine Fox News worries about image, and so does every other city an county around."
Mayor Swan says it would have taken approximately 5 to 7 years to completely restripe the fleet if they had just waited until it was time for each cruiser to be retired, then ordered new vehicles with new stripes.