The Madison Police Department is seeing positive results from a new program allowing take-home cars for some members of the force.

Chief Dan Thurston said the program is being tested with members of the emergency response team. Members of the team often have to respond directly to a scene, and it would be easier for them to have their own cars in that situation, Thurston said.

"We just thought their response time would be better to respond directly to a scene, not have to come here first and get a car," Thurston said.

The department purchased four vehicles in June. Two black and white cars came from a dealership in Jasper, which purchased them from the Munster Police Department.

Two silver cars were purchased from Kansas State Police, which sells its cars to other departments once they reach 50,000 miles.

"Basically, what we were budgeted for we could buy two new vehicles this year, but we bought four used," Thurston said.

The biggest issue facing the police department with added vehicles was fuel consumption.

Adding four cars was seen as something that could have a dramatic effect on the department's budget.

However, fuel consumption is down compared with previous years. Thurston said officers are patrolling just as frequently, and the only explanation he can come up with is the fuel efficiency of the newer vehicles.

The department is going to continue to look at purchasing take-home vehicles.

"If it's something we can do by buying used cars to expand the fleet, maybe we can have take-home cars for everyone," Thurston said.

Thurston said the department would need to be sure they could afford all the cars and watch the fuel consumption and insurance rates while making that decision. But the idea of take-home cars for every officer is still a long way down the road, Thurston said.