Spring has finally arrived!!! We finally had nice weather, on a weekend, to clean up after winter, get our gardens and flower planted, and get out on the lake. The City team took the opportunity this past Saturday to start cleaning up the shrubs in front of City Hall.
I would like to take this opportunity to give you a quick update on the Police team. I said I would provide regular updates on the progress the Chief is making.
For the most part, the Chief has established a solid crew of part-time and full-time team members. The level of experience we now have on that team is the best it has been in my ten years working with the City. The benefit of leveraging a part-time model is we can secure a higher level of experience, and well trained officers. The challenge of establishing a consistent schedule is a bit more difficult because we need to be flexible with the part-time team members’ schedules.
We also recently put a new Ford crossover SUV into commission. We have four vehicles in our fleet: two Ford SUVs, and two old Crown Vic traditional cars. The Chief has updated the graphics on the new cars, and they look fantastic!!
The two older cars have over 100,000 miles on them and need to be replaced. The challenge with police vehicles isn’t the number of miles, it is the number of hours on the car. Police leave the car running whenever they have stop, or are running into the Police Station to ensure all of the equipment in the vehicle remains running and cool. I would guess that these cars have double the number of hours on them compared to a civilian car with 100,000 miles on it. We are seeing this in the maintenance expenses for these cars. We recently had to invest over $3,000 into one older car to keep it on the road. These cars need to be replaced.
The team has also spoken with architects to determine how we can improve the Police station, and officers room in City Hall. The Board has allocated about $50,000 this year to make improvements, but this will not go very far. Our officers deserve better facilities than we can currently offer them. Our Citizens deserve a facility of which we can be proud.
The equipment and technology the team currently deploys is extremely dated. The computers are old, and slow, the two new cars have high definition cameras, but the older cars have old standard definition cameras, and the Police Station surveillance system needs to be upgraded.
During the month of May, your Board is seriously considering options for how to increase revenue to improve the vehicles, facilities and technology for our Police team. They are considering all options. Last year when we proposed a shared policing model with Blue Springs, a great number of people expressed their desire to keep the police team in-house. Over the next few weeks, I encourage you to speak with your aldermen, or send me a note about the situation. The Chief has done an admirable job pulling together a qualified staff, but that is just the first step to updating our Police services, and bringing it back up to a standard.
If you have a question, comment, or have a topic you would like me to cover in a future article, please drop me a note or stop by City Hall on Tuesday mornings to chat.
Scott Miles, Mayor
City of Lake Lotawana