Tuesday, January 7, 2003

Village ponders ads on cruisers

The Associated Press

CHAUNCEY, Ohio - This cash-strapped village has signed up for a program promising police cruisers for $1 in exchange for turning the vehicles into rolling billboards.

Police Chief Mike Marcum said he's willing to patrol village streets in a cruiser advertising just about any product - except doughnuts.

The company offering the deal, Government Acquisitions of Charlotte, N.C., does not accept ads for alcohol, tobacco, guns or gambling.

Chauncey is an Athens County village of slightly more than 1,000 people.

Although Government Acquisitions has not delivered its first cruiser, its Web site says 76 communities in 23 states, including the village of Portage in northwest Ohio, have signed up for the three-year leases. In Franklin County, Mifflin Township is considering the deal.

To the dismay of Mifflin Township officials, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien's office said advertising on police cruisers would violate the Ohio Constitution. Under a section of the constitution last amended in 1912, local governments cannot raise money for any business.

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