Groveport police to get body cameras and two new vehicles

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By Rick Palsgrove
Southeast Editor

Groveport City Council prepared for 2019 by passing a long list of legislation in late December authorizing purchases and agreements to keep the city operating and to make improvements.

Included in council’s action is the purchase of two new police cruisers to replace two 2008 model cruisers at a cost of $120,000 and the purchase of 17 police body cameras at a cost of $74,314.

“The cost for the body cameras is spread over five years,” said Groveport Assistant Administrator and Finance Director Jeff Green.

According to Groveport Police Chief Ralph Portier, the cost for the two new cruisers is estimated with all ancillary equipment – including computer, radios, lights and sirens. He said, in general, a police cruiser not outfitted sells between $36,000 to $40,000 per unit.

“The 2019 estimate does have about $5,000 for potential increase in vehicles’ costs, that we may not see,” said Portier. “Any capital funds not used will remain until needed.”

Portier said the new cruisers will replace vehicles that are more than 11 years old. He said police cruiser life spans are usually four to five years.

“Presently we have 13 marked cruisers ranging from 2010 to 2018 (models),” said Portier. “The average age is four years, but due to fleet maintenance and service we are able to keep our cruisers in pretty good shape.”

Portier added there are three cruisers that have been out of service for the past year with mileage exceeding 130,000 miles.

Portier said the body cameras will allow each officer while on duty to have one fully charged.

“There are 24 officers,” said Portier. “Detectives and administrative staff will not be issued body cams, but the spare units can be used by them should they work the street. Policy will dictate the daily use of the cameras, but they will be on during every traffic stop and criminal investigation. Officers who work warrants will have them as well.”

Portier said the body cameras are useful tools.

“The cameras become useful as evidentiary collection, statements made by the witness, suspect and the victims,” said Portier. “It will be able to show what the human eye cannot detect which allows a larger view of a scene. It also assists the officer in recollection during the call.”

Legislation approved for projects
Council approved legislation authorizing City Administrator Marsha Hall to seek bids and contract for the following (dollar amounts based on estimates in the city’s 2019 budget):

•East Bixby Road pavement rehabilitation (from near Ebright Road to U.S. 33), $348,000 from street fund and $92,000 from storm water fund.

•Annual street maintenance program, $450,000 from street fund and $105,000 from storm water fund. Includes resurfacing work on Main Street from College Street to Front Street (which was reconstructed in 1989-90) and on Main Street from Front Street east (which was reconstructed in 2003) to a point near the Groveport Recreation Center. Other streets to be included for work in 2019 and beyond are still to be determined.

•Replacement of front entrance barn at The Links golf course, $250,000.

•Sanitary pump station stand by generator for the Bixford Green pump station for $75,000.

•Sanitary sewer force main replacements in Elmont Place for $50,000.
Legislation approved for purchases

Council approved legislation authorizing Hall to enter into lease agreements and/or purchases for the following (dollar amounts based on estimates in the city’s 2019 budget):

•Additional leaf vacuum, $96,000. (It is noted in the budget this is required because after Kurtz Brothers moved from the area the time and cost of transporting leaves has “increased dramatically.” The new system will have a larger capacity for hauling leaves.)

•Starcraft Allstar 12+2 vehicle for transportation department, $62,200.

•Replacement truck for the facilities department, $30,000.

•A utility vehicle for Parks and Facilities Management, $22,800.

•A 72 inch replacement scag mower for Parks and Facilities Management, $10,518.

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