St. Paul, MN, Fire Officers Have Unmarked Take-Home Vehicles

Feb. 23, 2024
The vehicles which are equipped with gear and technology allow fire officers to respond to St. Paul incidents.

Unmarked black Chevy Tahoes, Suburbans and Ford Explorers are parked in the driveways of 13 St. Paul Fire Department officers. 

The take-home vehicles are justified because they’re equipped with gear and technology to allow department leaders to respond to emergencies though some rank-and-file firefighters told reporters they’re a rare sight on the scene, according to the Minnesota Reformer. 

The city spent an average of $503 a month for gas from November 2022 through October 2023 for the Chevy Suburban that Assistant Chief of Operations Jeramiah Melquist drives, reporters noted.

Melquist has to travel across the state often because he coordinates with various state emergency response teams including hazmat and air rescue, according to St. Paul Spokesman Roy Mokosso, who averaged $373.25 a month in gas on his city-issued 2016 Chevy Tahoe.

Journalists discovered Melquist, as most of the fire chiefs and captains with take-home vehicles, live outside St. Paul, including some as far away as Excelsior and western Wisconsin.

The average gas expense of all the 13 fire department leaders during that time was $261.15 per month totaling $41,261.15.

“That frustrates me that we’re subsidizing their decision to live way outside the city,” said Jane Prince, a former City Council member who raised concerns about the use of take-home vehicles during her time in office. “Just giving them gas to drive back and forth from work to the exurbs … That doesn’t make sense.”

Fire Chief Butch Inks, who averaged $157.66, was too busy to be interviewed, the paper noted.




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