Archive for Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Council considers installing cameras in all police cars

December 13, 2006

Tonganoxie police officers soon could have new cameras on all the department's vehicles.

On Monday, city council members heard a presentation about ICOP, which sells digital cameras, as well as other surveillance equipment. The council took no action, but directed police department officers to provide some cost estimates and revenue sources for the new cameras.

Under the ICOP system, cameras would be placed on each of the city's 11 police cars. A video monitor would be positioned where the radio is. The department currently has three cars equipped with working cameras.

Several benefits

Lt. Tony Hernandez told council members that cameras can be beneficial for training and to sort out complaints by citizens.

"Everything that's recorded will be downloaded to a server," he said.

And what is recorded cannot be altered.

The cost of buying 11 cameras and other equipment necessary to operate them is nearly $60,000, according to information provided Monday night.

"I haven't heard anything from the police department about money in the budget that's allocated for this," said council member Ron Cranor, a former highway patrolman who now is Leavenworth County undersheriff.

Lt. Billy Adcox, who is deputy chief, said the department has set aside $20,000 for new handguns and holsters next year. Officers generally are pleased with their guns, he said, so it's possible the money could be used for radar equipment and cameras.

"Both of them are important, but the camera system we've got now is not good quality," he said.

Cranor encouraged department officials to work with the city administrator on financing for the cameras.

"We need to see these figures in writing so the council can take action," he said.

Other action

In other matters, the council:

  • Approved increases in two city fees. The fee charged to connect to the city's sewer system was increased by $250, to $2,750. And the city now will charge $1 more a month for residential trash collection.
  • Conducted a public hearing Monday night and then approved amendments to the 2006 budget. The amendments cover up to $353,000 in increased spending approved by the council during the past year.
  • Extended the deadline until Feb. 12 for Wanda and Ernest Bjorgarrd to finalize cleanup of property they own on the south side of U.S. Highway 24-40 at Laming Road.
  • Debated, but didn't reach consensus, on what date to put on new signs at the south and east entrances to the city. Bill Jones, who is working on the signs, asked what date the council wanted on the sign -- the date of the city's incorporation or the date the first plat was filed.
  • Approved cereal malt beverage licenses for 2007 for B&J Country Mart, B&J BP, Mo's Pizza and Casey's.
  • Approved a contract with Leavenworth County for probation services, at a cost of $2,700 for next year. The cost to the city for the service this year was $2,569.

The city also renewed a contract with Bucher, Willis and Ratliff of Kansas City, Mo., for planning services. The cost to the city depends on the number of hours the firm works for the city.

  • Rescheduled the second council meeting in December from Christmas night to the following day, Dec. 26. The meeting will begin, as usual, at 7 p.m. in council chambers, 321 S. Delaware.
  • Approved bonuses for city staffers: $75 for full-time employees; $50 for part-time employees; and $25 gift cards to B&J Country Mart for reserve officers and volunteers.

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