This is a curious situation which, as Judge Foster rightly notes, is rife with potential pitfalls and extra liability for the county. I wonder how frequently it happens elsewhere, particularly without a supervisor's permission? Are deputies charging the county mileage for using their personal vehicle for official duties? What police work are they doing off duty, writing tickets to people who cut them off in traffic? And if you're a deputy constable installing lights and sirens in your personal vehicle without the department's permission, where would one get them?
Dallas County commissioners voted Tuesday to ban deputies and other employees from installing emergency police equipment such as lights and sirens on their personal vehicles without the court's permission.
The policy also requires employees to get permission from their elected official or department head before installing police equipment in personal vehicles.
The measure was needed, officials said, because some deputy constables have used their personal vehicles for law enforcement purposes while off duty, opening the county up to liability.
The policy also applies to vehicles that currently have the equipment.
Employees who request permission must explain the "public and official" purpose of the police equipment. If their request is granted, employees must get insurance for their cars so they can be used as police vehicles, and the county must be named as an insured party.
"This will help bring under control these renegades," said County Judge Jim Foster, a regular critic of some constable practices.
What do y'all think about this practice?