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The Daily



10-08-03: Rockford police cars may sport advertising


ROCKFORD — Village officials are looking at the possibility of getting free police cruisers that would be splashed with advertisements.
Police Chief Paul May told Rockford village council members meeting Tuesday that the town has been approved for the application process to seek the vehicles through Government Acquisitions Inc., of Charlotte, N.C. The Rockford Police Department is looking to replace two of its three cruisers through the company’s program.
Even if local officials express interest, there is no guarantee the town would be approved for the program. Everything hinges on whether the company could secure advertising to go on the police cruisers. The company works with local, state and national sponsors to make its program work.
Government Acquisitions officials admit it is tougher to sell ads for police cars in small communities, but May said he believes Rockford has some assets that would be attractive to potential advertisers.
“When you consider a national TV spot costs $100,000 for 10 seconds, we have 7,500 cars per day and a semi every minute,” May explained.
Council members took no action on the issue but agreed to consider it further. The town has 90 days to proceed with the application process. If the deal goes through, May said the department would sell the oldest two of its three cruisers.
Less than a year ago, May and other law enforcement officials in Mercer County told The Daily Standard they would be hesitant to splash advertising on their cruisers. May seemed the most willing at that time, but said he would not want to be the first department in the area to join the program
“I’m just not sure what people would think of it,” May said for the Jan. 21 article.
In that same story, other law enforcement officers complained that having advertisements on the cruisers could create the appearance of impropriety. On Tuesday, May said that would not be an issue. Local advertisers most likely would not appear on the cars and officers would remain impartial, even if they happen to come in contact with somebody associated with its sponsors.
The advertising would be fairly low-key and confined to the rear panels and trunk of the cruisers, May said. Government Acquisitions would have its own ad on the hood.
In other business Tuesday, council members:
• Tabled a discussion on whether part-time police officers should be able to use their $200 annual clothing allowance to buy other equipment, such as a portable radio.
• Tabled discussion on whether the volunteer Income Tax Review Board should review village tax returns prepared by Tax Administrator Herb Muhlen-kamp through the course of his private accounting practice. Village officials first want to know if board members would be willing to sift through up to 40 or so returns.
• Set trick-or-treat for 5:30-7 p.m. Oct. 26, followed by costume judging at the firehouse at 7:30 p.m. Village officials also donated $200 to the fire department to pay for candy and prizes.


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