Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tools of the Trade

Hobart Lane:  PTV in action

If ever a term described Amherst Police Department's capital equipment requests for next year it would be "the usual".  Well, almost. (No drones however).

Three front line cruisers, AKA patrol cars, i.e. "black-and-whites," at a total cost of $105,000.  These vital vehicles are on the go 24 hours a day, seven days a week and as a result only last two or three years.  The department is currently on a four year replacement cycle: replace three cruisers annually for three consecutive years and then four in the fourth year.

Since the iconic Crown Vics are no longer manufactured, the replacement vehicles will all be Ford Taurus Police Interceptors, which are crash rated to 75 MPH.  Thus the vehicles are safer, as well as roomier for extra comfort, and fiscally sound via better gas mileage.  

 A reliable response vehicle is required for first responders

Last year was a replace-four year but there is still money left over from that appropriation, so the department is putting $45,000 of it towards a new Personal Transport Vehicle or PTV.

Not to be confused with the racially insensitive term "paddy wagon."  Although I heard a number of college aged youth use that term as they were being loaded into the vehicle last fall.  The current van has over 136,000 miles on it.

Left over FY13 money ($12,000) will also be used to purchase a Harley Davidson motorcycle coming off lease (with only 1,492 miles on it).  A few years ago APD had a mounted horse division but that was put out to pasture due to budget constraints.

No horse patrol but we have (2) Harleys

Also requested is an in-cruiser wireless camera system for two cars ($10,500) that shoots digital audio and video and immediately downloads as the patrol car pulls into the station parking lot.  The raw video protects officers from liability (false claims of inappropriate conduct) and can be used in a court of law for evidence in drunk driving arrests.

The department requested these two camera systems last year but was delayed to save money.  That year the department had to upgrade its communication system at a cost of $125,000 to come into compliance with FCC "narrow band" regulations.

Captain Pronovost left, Chief Livingstone left center Kay Moran JCPC Chair right

Joint Capital Planning Committee's target goal is to spend 7% of total budget for capital items.
While a total police request of $172,500 ($57,000 already appropriated) may sound like a lot, considering the FY14 APD operation budget is, like the Amherst Fire Department, just over $4 million, a 7% slice for capital should come to $280,000.

Not a bad deal for safety.


Anonymous said...

<Left over FY13 money ($12,000) will also be used to purchase a Harley Davidson motorcycle coming off lease (with only 1,492 miles on it).

Why is this a good thing? Why don't they just return the money to the town's general budget rather than spending it for the sake of spending it? If this motorcycle only accumulated 1,492 miles during its lease term it obviously wan't being used and is not needed.

Larry Kelley said...

I knew you were going to say that.

They are/were going to make these purchases anyway (with Town Meeting approval of course) so what does it matter where the money comes from.

In fact the original PTV was a gift that came used from the Sheriff's Department (although it initially required a fair amount of repair work).

Anonymous said...

Seems to me this motorcycle doesn't get much use.

Larry Kelley said...

Certainly would not get much use today now would it?

It's a specialty item.

Anonymous said...

Being against waste and fraud means being against waste even when it's your pals at the Police Department. It's not just Cherry Hill. If a similarly barely used item was being purchased by Cherry Hill you would be all over it. Now it's "never mind."

Larry Kelley said...

BIG difference between a vital public safety department and a recreation concern. Very BIG.

And it's certainly not "fraud", unlike some of the sleazy things that are done at Cherry Hill, since the department has been upfront/transparent about it.

They have 2 units and back when I was running a Health Club with fairly expensive capital needs I always tried to acquire machines in pairs as it helps with diagnosing repair problems should one break down.

They are also used in Public Relations situations like parades (not that Amherst has a 7/4 Parade anymore).

And a department with a $4 million annual budget should be spending a few buck annually for PR.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are making excuses.
No one said anything about fraud and you know it. You are trying to change the subject from waste, which it is.

Larry Kelley said...

You are of course entitled to your opinion. But as a Cowardly Anon Nitwit it does not carry much weight.