Budget Board Puts Hold on Spending for Cop Cars, School-Security Cameras
Proposals from the East Providence Police Department for vehicle replacement and secondary school security equipment stalled for at least two weeks.
The budget commission pushed off two East Providence Police Department requests for spending for at least two weeks last Thursday, Jan. 31, at its biweekly meeting. Both will be back on the agenda on Feb. 14.
The first request was for a vehicle-replacement program that would use approximately $1.8 million of the asset-forfeiture cash received by East Providence in the Google settlement from the federal justice department.
The second request was for using a much smaller amount of cash -- about $42,000 to extend a contract with Dane Tech, Inc. of Johnston to add video surveillance and access-control equipment at the secondary schools. See Patch story.
The vehicle replacement program "would take care of all the years of neglect” to a fleet of vehicles that City Manager Peter Graczykowski described as in “pretty rough shape.”
The vehicles all need to be replaced, he told the budget commission, because of excessive mileage or repairs.
It was because of the years of neglect that the budget board asked first for a five-year replacement plan before it approves the purchases.
“It doesn’t want this to happen again,” said Graczykowski, who represents the city on the budget board. “It does support using the asset-forfeiture money for the purchases.”
The replacement vehicles would be purchased in six phases over the next six months, according to the proposal by East Providence Police Chief Joseph Tavares. All of the vehicles would be purchased by July 1 using competitive state bid list pricing.
The vehicles include five command staff vehicles:Ford Explorer XLT 4X4s; detective staff vehicles: Ford Taurus sedans, Ford Explorers and Ford Escapes; administrative staff vehicles: Ford Explorer, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Suburban, two Ford Taurus’s, and an F-150 4x4 super cab; department support vehicles: Chevrolet K3500HD stake body truck, Chevy 3500 truck, Ford E-350/12 passenger van, Suburban 4x4 IMP, a Ford F250 prisoner transport vehicle and two Harley Davidson motorcycles; patrol, traffic vehicles: 23 Ford Crown Victorias; vice unit vehicles: 4 SUVs and a surveillance vehicle.
The school-security cameras would be purchased with a federal grant that has to be spent by March 31 or the city will lose the money. That sparked some concern at the meeting that the city could lose the money with any long delay.
“We just need to get competitive bids,” said Graczykowski. “We already have the specifications. I think we have plenty of time. We can make it happen if we do it quickly.”
East Providence Det. Lt. Michael David, who presented the school-security proposal, agreed after a bit of consternation at and right after the meeting.
“We will get this done,” David said. “These measures will make our schools safer, and we will continue to plan and take advantage of any resources that will help protect our students in the future.”