Kings of the Road

Here’s a great story in the Stupid Government Tricks category: A Kentucky sheriff and deputy drove over 2,000 miles to serve an arrest warrant, arrested the wrong guy and drove him back in handcuffs—another 2,000 miles—before realizing their mistake. The officers even had time for sightseeing and souvenir purchases along the way.

The story hints at the root of the problem: high reimbursement rates to government employees can encourage inefficient use of taxpayer dollars. In Arkansas, a newspaper story earlier this year detailed similar behavior by a few state legislators who drove to out-of-state conferences and received hefty reimbursements, even though flying would have been significantly cheaper.

Arkansas lawmakers are not required to use the shortest and least expensive route to their destination for purposes of reimbursement, but I’m guessing that will change soon: it is very likely that the legislature will pass and operate under significantly stricter reimbursement rules starting next year.

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to extend those rules to law enforcement officers in Kentucky.

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