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Police plan for 2013
Dec 06, 2012 4:00 pm
As 2012 draws to a close, Lebanon police are beginning to look toward the department’s needs for next year.
“We’ve been fortunate over the past few years with the budget being the way it is,” said Chief Scott Bowen.
He said the department has been able to use drug fund money, traffic school money and other similar sources to meet key necessities.
“Without that, I don’t know where we’d be,” said Bowen. “And we’re lucky we have received the support that we’ve gotten from the mayor and council.”
In the past year, the department has added two patrol officers dedicated to the city’s public housing areas, with the Federal Housing Authority paying the full salary of one officer and half the salary of the other.
“We’re getting two officers for the price of half an officer,” said Bowen.
The department has also added 12 new patrol cars to replace vehicles that were topping 100,000 miles – the mileage at which the cars usually begin having mechanical issues, according to Bowen.
“Normally we try to replace six or eight every year,” said Bowen. “We actually had fallen behind.”
Using that rotation, the department usually replaces the full fleet every seven years.
“We just can’t afford to go out and buy 20 or 25 at a time,” said Bowen.
Drug fund money is used to equip the vehicles.
The department also received approval for an emergency $35,000 purchase for the department’s radio system to meet new federal mandates.
“There’s some things that we’ve got to have done by Jan. 1,” said Bowen. “Probably in the future it’s gonna cost more, because right now this is a Band Aid to get us through the next five years.”
For 2013, though, Bowen plans address three key projects.
Bowen said he wants to upgrade department’s computer system so that it’s accessible remotely in case anything happened to the police department facility.
“The computer upgrade is $60,000, and that creates a virtual system,” said Bowen.
Along a similar line, Bowen said he would like to buy a use-of-force simulator.
“That’s a computer simulator that allows you to simulate real-life situations,” said Bowen. “You try to use real-life scenarios to prepare your officers for how to respond in certain situations.”
Bowen is also interested in adding another use-of-force option for the department. He said he plans try to implement Tasers in the department at some point during the year.
“It’s just one of those tools that we need,” said Bowen. “Most of the studies show that suspect and officer injuries go down when a department adds Tasers.”
Bowen said he has researched Tasers for a couple years, and he’s found fatalities associated with Tasers are related to misuse.
“The key is to make sure your officers are trained correctly,” said Bowen. “We’ve had some situations here, recently, where our [pepper] spray is just not sufficient.”