APD Captain Chris Pronovost (left) Chief Scott Livingstone (right)
Amherst Police Chief Scott Livingston and Captain Chris Pronovost appeared before the Joint Capital Planning Committee this morning to present their FY16 equipment needs, which were pretty modest considering their $4.5 million operational budget.
Joint Capital Planning Committee preparing to discuss PD equipment this morning
Front line cruisers are used 24/7, 365 days a year
One of the things you don't want to have happen when you call 911 for a life or death emergency is to have help delayed because of a vehicle breakdown.
Click to enlarge/read. FY16 starts July 1st
Amherst police department was one of the first public safety agencies in the state to adopt "in car video systems" aka dash cams. Such a system protects both the officer making an arrest or just interacting with citizens and the person being arrested or just interacting with the officer.
$12,000 will purchase two complete systems, to replace older systems in two cruisers.
Naturally as the Chief was leaving the meeting I asked him about body cams. He responded that within two years it will probably be standard equipment for his department.
The current crop of cameras somewhat rushed to market are still a tad expensive (decent reliable units around $1,000 each) and like any new technology the cameras will get better and cheaper just within the next two years.
He did point out that officers are in favor of wearing the cameras, so it's not a labor union issue holding things up. Obviously body cameras would have come in handy last year at the Blarney Blowout.
Also coming in handy when things reach riotous proportions are "Crowd management tools, Protective Gear" aka riot gear.
The Chief told the JCPC that he was dropping the $9,500 request -- not because they are unneeded -- but because he found leftover money in another account to fund them.
The current generation of riot gear (both bulky and hot in the summer) was purchased back in the mid-1980s before anybody ever heard of Blarney Blowout and the excuse to day-drink and get riotous was called "Hobart Hoedown".
Officers only recently were fitted for the equipment so it will not be available this coming March 7.
Do I think they will need riot gear that day? Well the weather is forecast to be sunny/clear but COLD so that's a BIG help.
Plus the quad area of Townhouse Apartments -- ground zero for the gestation of riotous behavior -- is currently buried in snow, so that's a BIG help.
And even the recent regrettable publicity about an alleged "First Amendment" violation last year resulting in a federal lawsuit against APD will at least serve to remind everyone of what a lousy day Blarney was ... for EVERYBODY.
Although I do find it fascinating that Cowardly Anon Nitwits post drivel on the mobile app FADE publicly threatening my First Amendment rights:
At least I'm filed under "hot"
Photo is from an "event" I covered at Townhouse back on September 20