LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles Police Department made a big deal about going green with a fleet of electric BMWs.
But our David Goldstein has discovered some of those cars are sitting in the garage.
Here is a full script of Goldstein’s investigation:
“This is part of a million-dollar pilot program. You’re really supposed to get a manicure using the BMWs?”
We followed this LAPD commander driving one of the department’s fleet of electric BMWs to a nail salon.
“Is it supposed to be used for getting a manicure?”
The cars are part of a multimillion-dollar taxpayer funded project to help the LAPD go green.
But our investigation of department records found some electric cars are sitting unused with only a few hundred miles on them, and with hidden cameras, we found others are allegedly being misused.
“The LAPD unveiled its patrol cars of the future today.”
In a 2016 well-choreographed press conference, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck got out of an electric BMW driven by Mayor Garcetti to tout the city’s ambitious project.
“They certainly have the performance potential.”
BMW won the contract to provide electric cars for the LAPD. One hundred delivered each year for three years, to be used right now for administrative purposes. Non-emergencies.
The department is leasing them.
The cost: $10.2 million, which includes charging stations.
“We want to be responsive to the community.”
Money well worth it according to LAPD Deputy Chief Jorge Villegas.
“It’s all a part of saving the Earth, going green … quite frankly, to try and save money for the community and the taxpayers.”
But sources say some personnel are reluctant to use the electric cars because they can only go 80-100 miles on a charge.
And the mileage logs we obtained seem to back that up.
From April 2016 when the project started through August 2017, we found most of the electric cars have only been used for a few thousand miles.
And a handful are sitting in the garage with only a few hundred on them.
Like this one in service since may 27, 2016, with just 400 miles on it!
That’s an average use of 6 miles a week!
With the monthly lease payment of a little more than $418, this one costs taxpayers over $15 a mile to use!
“It just doesn’t make any sense!
Political watchdog Jack Humphreville says it seems the department was more interested in the image of using electric cars than the implementation.
“First of all, if they’re going to be using $10 million of our money, or basically leasing $10 million of equipment, they ought to have a damn plan!”
“Isn’t that just a tremendous waste of money?”
But while some are used infrequently, with hidden cameras we watched a few LAPD personnel using these expensive electric cars perhaps improperly.
We followed someone after leaving the downtown police garage; they went to the drive-through at Yoshinoya.
And go right back to the garage. A taxpayer funded electric ride for lunch.
On another day, someone drove from downtown LA to Loyola Marymount University in West LA picked up someone who appeared to be a student and went to lunch.
And on this day, we watched Annemarie Sauer, who is commanding officer of LAPD fiscal operations. She used the department’s electric BMW and stopped at an elementary school in Long Beach, which is outside the city of LA. She stayed there for almost an hour.
Then she parked the car a few blocks away outside this nail salon.
Inside with a hidden camera, that’s the LAPD commander on the left getting a manicure. She spent over an hour inside the salon.
“She’s pointing over at her car.”
Commander Sauer gestured toward where the BMW was parked as she left the salon with the manicurist. And then made her way back to the city car.
“I’m David Goldstein with CBS2 News.”
She didn’t have anything to say.
“You’re getting a manicure using the LAPD BMWs. This is part of a million-dollar pilot program. Is it supposed to be used for getting a manicure?”
“I have no comment at this time.”
“She’s getting her nails done”
We showed Assistant Chief Villegas the video.
“Is that proper use of the BMW?”
“It doesn’t appear to be.”
The deputy chief say the department policy is that cars are to be used for business only. And they’ll look into what we found.
Overall, he claims the programs is a success and hopes that the use of electric cars will increase.