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Gas Prices Tough on Cops' Wallets

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The common, everyday drivers aren't the only ones watching the price at the pump go up with wary eyes. It's also the men and women who keep the streets safe that are having to spend more and more.

The Bryan Police Department increased its request for fuel for fiscal year 2005 by 15 percent from last year. The city of Bryan, in cooperation with College Station, Hearne, Texas A&M and others, buys a yearly amount of unleaded and diesel gasoline for all their services. The individual departments then make requests for a portion of that fuel based on their needs, and the police who are on patrol daily are a big part of that. To make their fuel bids, the department examines each car's fuel usage for the year.

"They know how many gallons you put in," said Walt Melnyk, Bryan PD's public information officer. "They take that and they go, 'PD is using an approximate amount of gas, and this is what we're going to budget for this year.' We'll give ourselves a little bit of breathing room there, and so that's how they really budget for our gas prices."

There was a $10,000 increase in the charges for fuel from the '03-'04 fiscal year, from around $67,000 to nearly $78,000. But the total amount of fuel from '03 to '04 actually decreased by a small margin, from 57,804 gallons to 57,020.

Bryan PD officials also said with the city expanding and an increase in 911 calls recently, the amount of fuel used shows no sign of decreasing. But over the past few fiscal years, the department has come in below budget on fuel expenses.