Where would East Providence’s police chief like to spend the $10.2 million in Google cash that will remain in the $60 million account after most of it goes toward the police pension fund?
Replacing the aging fleet of unmarked cars and support vehicles is at the top of his list.
So is traffic safety equipment, surveillance gear for the detective division, thermal-imaging equipment to help with searches, bringing back a K-9 unit and, perhaps, starting up a Police Athletic League in the city.
Police Chief Joseph Tavares said he plans to submit a “wish list” to City Manager Peter Graczykowski and Finance Director Malcolm Moore soon for spending the money.
“We’re certainly not going to go on a spending spree,” said Tavares of the federal Department of Justice account that holds the asset-forfeiture money earmarked for East Providence because of its help in the Google case that resulted in a $500 settlement.
The money will always remain in that account, said Tavares. The city will be able to draw down on it over as many years as it desires.
“We need to recognize immediate needs and come up with a flexible plan for the cash,” he said. “There are many ways we can put it to good use. There is much we’ll be able to do in crime prevention.”
Detectives drive the oldest vehicles, Tavares said. They need to be replaced. Any replacement of vehicles is always done in phases.
“It’s not a one-shot deal,” he said. “There is always turnover.”
Traffic-safety equipment Tavares has his eyes on are more sign boards that can be spread around the neighborhoods in the city.
Surveillance equipment, including portable alarms, would help to safeguard buildings that are “habitually broken into” or potential targets for burglaries.
“We get leads,” he said. “We could put those buildings under surveillance.”
Thermal-imaging equipment would help police officers search for and locate lost children and elderly residents who may wander away, Tavares said. The gear detects their body heat.
Tavares said he would love to bring back a K-9 unit, which could also be funded with other grants.
“They are very valuable in drug detection and in searching buildings,” he said. “They can do searches much quicker than officers on foot.”
Tavares also would like to spread some of the cash around to “partners” of the police department -- social service agencies that are involved in preventing domestic abuse, drug abuse, and youth programs, such as PAL.
“The city has been cutting youth sports,” he said. “PAL is a place to do crime prevention. You can give kids something to do to keep them out of trouble."
Where would you spend the more than $10 million that will remain in the account after most of it goes to the police pension fund? Use the comment box below.