At Issue: Low-budget police departments consider selling advertising space on squad cars

When police departments are low on funds, squad cars are perfectly blank billboards.

According to a report, cash-strapped police departments across the country are seeing the empty space on squad cars as viable advertising space.

Government Acquisitions LLC, a company based in Charlottle, N.C., started selling ads about two months ago, planning ads for the hoods, sides and trunks of patrol cars. In return, the company will provide new patrol cars for the department for $1 each and will replace the vehicles every three years.

The company will keep the ad revenue, but police departments will get new vehicles for almost nothing.

"If you're home at night with your wife and kids and some maniac breaks into your house, you call 911, and you want a police car there," Ken Allison, president of Government Acquisitions, said. "You don't care if there's a Burger King logo on the trunk."

So far, some 20 departments have signed contracts, while many other cities are showing interest.

The question here is, could it work for the University Police Department?

Imagine university police cars with ads for Greek's Pizzeria, T.I.S. Bookstore and Gordy's Art Mart. That sounds fine, doesn't it? Officers could protect, serve and even support the community.

Now consider squad cars with ads from the National Pork Board and various doughnut shops.

That doesn't work so well.

Clearly, this business should be carefully watched so as to preserve the dignity of police departments around the country.

Here, ad choice is crucial. Police departments can pursue innovative ways of budgeting such as this, but this should not compromise the level of respect police officers deserve.002,Nk+â-Çeditorial 11.20.02DNEditorial002SORT+â-ä2AUDT



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