Thursday, February 16, 2012
Police chief reports force needs
By SUE WATSON
Chief James Dean reported to the Holly Springs Board of Aldermen last week his assessment of the equipment and staffing situation as he found it during his first month at the police department.
Dean began his duties as police chief January 9.
The fleet of patrol cars is aging rapidly, he said. Most vehicles have upward of 80,000 miles with many over 100,000 miles on the odometer. One car is out of service and the dog catcher’s pickup is about shot.
“If we don’t do something soon, we’ll have a whole fleet of vehicles down for the count,” he said.
He recommended purchase of some new patrol cars and beginning a program of rotation of vehicles while they still are in good enough shape to trade.
Dean said the department has a grant to purchase a couple of new marked vehicles. He needs two new patrol cars now and then wants to rotate the others.
With federal dollars getting tighter, Dean said the city needs to plan to raise the funds for vehicles and police manpower it needs.
He asked to fill one full-time officer position and two part-time posts so there will be sufficient coverage of the city at all times.
For the long-term, Dean said he would like the city to obtain a K-9 officer, most likely a drug dog, because he said the city has a lot of drug trafficking.
“A drug dog would be a great asset,” he said.
He also wants to look at providing some senior officer salaried positions, since the number of supervisor positions is insufficient to let officers progress in their career requirements.
Digital pocket recorders would help officers document problems they face from citizens and decrease the city’s potential exposure to lawsuits, he said. Cameras in police cars are a long way off due to costs, but would be ideal, he said. Videos, however, would protect officers and the city better, because the chief said they cannot be tampered with by the officer. On the other hand, a recorder could be erased or turned off, he said.
Dean asked why the city does not use tasers and Mayor Andre’ DeBerry said because of possible harm a taser could do to a suspect, the board voted to discontinue the use of a taser as a take-down device.
Dean said in the hands of properly trained officers, the taser is a good tool and safe to use in cases of active resisters. The taser could cut down on police officer injuries, he said.
He also recommended the force have some rifles in its equipment.
Dean also asked for advice on the city’s policy where officers seek secondary employment. DeBerry said the city’s policy is fairly clear-cut on the issue of working outside jobs.
Dean said his concern is that officers take the required rest hours between shifts and between after-hours jobs with other employers.
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