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Cell Phones and County Vehicles

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Cell Phones and County Vehicles

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
September 21, 2012

McHenry County has a super-strict policy on the use of cellular telephones while an employee is operating a County-owned vehicle (or maybe any vehicle while using a County owned cell phone).

What's a County-owned vehicle? Marked squad car, unmarked squad car, seized vehicle, department-owned non-law enforcement vehicle, dog catcher trucks, prisoner-transport buses, etc.

Needless to say, deputies are County employees.

So, what does the policy say?

"... Unless absolutely avoidable, cell phones are not to be used while driving a moving vehicle or operating moving machinery, as such devices causes (sic) driver distraction. All employees shall use a hands-free device while driving. Employees shall not make or receive telephone calls while driving. Employees shall let incoming calls go to their voicemail and then find a safe place to pull over and park before initiating a call."

Think anyone follows these rules?

How about this rule? "County owned wireless phones are for business use only except for emergency purposes."

Limited personal use can be made of a County owned phone, and the employee gets nicked for a flat fee of $10.00 reportable as income.

How many phone calls and text messages did Det. Novak make to the C.I. in that case that is now under the microscope? Were they all for "business" purposes?

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