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Despite Funding Cuts, LAPD Stuck With $10M Electric BMW Pilot Program

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - The "Defund The Police" movement has prompted the city to cut $150 million from the LAPD budget.

But what about those expensive electric BMWs that were exposed in several David Goldstein investigations?

David first reported on these LAPD BMWs back in 2017 - a $10 million pilot program that the department is still stuck with years later and for years to come despite calls to cut costs.

Last year we found an LAPD employee using one of the department's fleet of electric BMWs to commute to and from work. Another one in 2017 using the car to get a manicure. And we found hundreds of others vehicles rarely used.

With the department now facing a $150 million dollar budget cut viewers went online to comment about our investigations, calling the cars "free public taxis" saying "turn these over back to the public".

So we decided to take a look again at the electric cars which are used for non-emergencies. And found even less usage.

We obtained mileage reports from the LAPD for the 200 cars in the fleet.

We found one 2019 model with just 253 miles.

Another with only 310 miles.

A 3-year old 2017 model with just over 5,100 miles.

Another 2017 with just under 5,300 miles.

Political watchdog Jack Humphreville says this isn't a good use of taxpayer money.

"To use that kind of car as an administrative vehicle seems to me to be a huge waste of money," he said.

The BMWs cost the department over $10 million. That includes the cost of leasing the cars and building electric charging stations.

The LAPD says that part of the reason for low mileage is the cars were used by civilian volunteers. That program has been stopped because of the coronavirus.

"It's one area where they could save some money," Humphreville said. "They could even go out and get a Chevy Volt or something like that at half price."

But Goldstein found they can't. While the department wouldn't comment on camera they did tell us the leases won't expire until 2022 and 2023 - meaning the city is stuck with the cars whether they use them or not.

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