Lepanto City Council looks at police coverage

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Police coverage was the main subject of the monthly meeting of the Lepanto City Council meeting Tuesday, Sept. 20.

In the August meeting, the issue of complete police coverage had been discussed at length. The contention was the lack of coverage at certain times of the week.

In response, both city council member Charles Farely and police chief Raymond Oakes presented police schedules they had prepared prior to the meeting. Farley said upon passing out his schedules that he had compiled it based on the available personnel as shown on the July police schedule.

"My biggest problem is that we don't have enough double coverage," Farely said, referring to the times when the LPD has only one officer on duty. "According to what I have, we have double coverage only 13 hours a week. And on Saturday, we have double coverage only from six to eight Saturday night. It seems to me that this is one of the times we need the people the most. And Sunday there's no double coverage at all."

Farely's figures also showed that the department had no one on duty for two hours to fours before 8 a.m. each day of the week.

"That's 22 hours each month with no coverage at all," Farley added.

The schedule Farely presented used part time people to make up the difference in hours. It would allow them to work up to 12 hours per week.

"If we go by what we're paying now we would have about the same payroll that we're paying now," Farely said. "If we did this we would have coverage 24-7."

"One of the problems with this is that we have to get part timers who are willing to work the hours we need them," Chief Oakes responded. "We're going to have a hard time getting them to work the needed hours."

"I think we need to talk to the part timers and see what they have to say," Mayor Dunlap said. "We can see what they are willing to do then."

Oakes said what would really be necessary would be to have six officers and work part timers as necessary.

"I still think the other way would work," Farley said. "And if we have people who don't want to work the hours we need them then we need to get people who will."

Dunlap said if the council wanted "24-7 coverage" they should tell the chief to do whatever was necessary to get it done.

Farely then made a motion to have Chief Oakes make provisions to provide the necessary coverage and the council voted affirmatively.

In other business, Dunlap brought up the issue of getting an aerator for the sewer system. He did this in response to a number of people who had said the odor was terrible during certain times. He gave a cost for one aerator at $10,900, installed.

"I'm just bring this up so we can look into getting something done," Dunlap said.

Other issues discussed included:

*Clean-up in certain areas of the city with the question being asked as to why it seemed some people were being made to clean up their properties while others weren't.

*The amount of money being spent on animal control compared to what had been spent in the past. The most recent bill reflected a cost of $2,400 based on a cost of $12 per animal.

*The possibility of the city purchasing a booster for the police radio system. It was explained that the booster would increase the power of the system. The cost would be approximately $3,000, but would almost be paid for with some turn-back money the department would be receiving.

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