The city of San Diego could save $700,000 a year by reducing the number of vehicles employees take home at night as much as a quarter, the City Auditor’s Office said in a report released Wednesday.

The auditor found that the city lacks a review process for giving out vehicles and determining the costs, especially for police officers and firefighters. The audit said it isn’t clear why some city workers even take home cars.

“In fact, the City assigns take-home vehicles to some employees who rarely respond to emergency call backs, do not have any special skills, or do not require any special equipment when responding to emergencies,” the audit said. The report didn’t name employees, but showed that some commute from as far as Riverside County.

The city’s police and fire chiefs agreed to implement greater controls over using take-home vehicles, but said the auditor didn’t account for money the city saved by having better response to emergencies.

The auditor found the city has 347 vehicles employees take home nightly with the police and fire departments making up 80 percent of that figure. The vehicles are assigned to employees responsible for responding to after-hours emergencies, though the audit questions how many actually do.

Please contact Liam Dillon directly at or 619.550.5663 and follow him on Twitter:

Liam Dillon was formerly a senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He led VOSD’s investigations and wrote about how regular people...

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