New cameras for police cruisers; plus, budget talks

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By Dustin Ensinger

Staff Writer

The city of Reynoldsburg’s police cruisers could soon receive new in-car cameras.

Reynoldsburg City Council will consider a resolution to purchase $90,000 worth of dashboard cameras.

“We are in grave need of replacements for our in-car camera system,” said Police Chief Jim O’Neill. “Our current system is severely out of date.”

The current cameras are too old to be serviced or replaced with the same equipment, according to O’Neill.

The cameras, which will be purchased from Custom Signal, are estimated to cost $83,000, but O’Neill recommended adding $7,000 to cover any contingencies that could arise.

O’Neill said he discussed various in-car camera options with several departments and the department has been using Custom Signal’s equipment in one cruiser on an experimental basis for several months.

“They were head and shoulders above everybody else,” he said.

The money will come from the department’s federal forfeiture fund. The account currently has $176,000 and the money can only be used for specific capital purchases.

“You can’t supplement the budget with it,” O’Neill said.

The measure will require two readings before passage.

2014 budget

The finance committee voted 5-0 in favor of moving the 2014 budget to full council for a vote. The city is currently operating under an interim budget, but must pass a complete spending outline by March 31, according to state law.

Councilman Cornelius McGrady abstained from the vote.

Councilwoman Leslie Kelly questioned how the city would manage to save over $300,000 in spending on the police department.

City Auditor Richard Harris said the savings are achieved by accounting for the fact there is turnover in the department and positions are not filled immediately. He also said the department has several officers that are on reserve military or National Guard duty.

“We will never be, in a full year, at 100 percent,” Harris said.

Councilman Scott Barrett also questioned whether the budget contained enough money to repair the potholes created by the harsh winter.

Director of Public Service Nathan Burd said the money budgeted would be sufficient. He said the city has already repaired 220 potholes.

Council is expected to vote on the final budget on March 10.

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