Georgetown police use Facebook, Humvees to transport shut-ins

gkocher1@herald-leader.comJanuary 23, 2014 

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GEORGETOWN — Georgetown police offered a little something extra to shut-ins and others hampered by this week's icy roads.

Using its Facebook page, the department advertised the use of surplus military vehicles it had on hand to offer emergency transport services.

For example, if someone needed a critical prescription drug from a pharmacy, the department would make arrangements to have one of its Humvees deliver that to a patient. Or if someone needed to make a critical medical appointment, a department Humvee would take them to that appointment.

"We were mostly thinking of our older population that is not comfortable driving in these kinds of conditions," Georgetown Police Chief Mike Bosse said. "We were concerned about people that needed dialysis."

No dialysis patients sought the free taxi service. And Bosse said there were a total of only three calls Tuesday to seek use of the service. The offer was good for use in the city or in rural Scott County.

"I did have some people on staff that said, 'If we open this door, we may regret it,'" Bosse said. "And yet people didn't abuse it."

Over the past year, the department has collected five Humvees that were made available through a program that allows the Secretary of Defense to transfer excess equipment to state and local law-enforcement agencies for use in their duties, Bosse said.

"Some of that equipment includes Humvees, and because it doesn't cost the taxpayers anything, we went ahead and got five in the event of just this kind of thing," he said.

The idea of using the Humvees for emergency transports was suggested Tuesday during a department staff meeting, Bosse said. The vehicles were available for calls beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

This week was the first time that the Humvees were enlisted to help the public. Four Humvees are actually available for transports; the fifth was cannibalized for parts for use in those vehicles actually on the road, Bosse said.

"It does not cost the taxpayers of Scott County a dime, but when you need them you need them," he said.

The offer for emergency transports remained up on the department's Facebook page Wednesday, although the service will end as road conditions improve, Bosse said.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

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