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Police department's 'wish list' examined by Sunnyside councilmen

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Sunnyside Police Chief Ed Radder and City Clerk Deborah Estrada Monday night review items in the police department's decision packet.

The Sunnyside City Council last night held a workshop, discussing both the extension of service on council subcommittees and the Sunnyside Police Department's decision packet, also known as a wish list.

The list of priority items the police department wishes to purchase was presented to council during regular 2011-12 budget discussions, but council directed Police Chief Ed Radder to revise the list and discuss it with the public safety subcommittee before further discussions with the council.

After the public safety subcommittee reviewed the items on the list, a revised list was presented last night to city council members. The list includes the replacement of a phone and radio recorder, replacement of heating and air conditioning for the jail, replacement of ballistic helmets, the purchase of SWAT vests and gas masks, the replacement of office chairs, the purchase of gun safes, a new alarm monitoring panel and lights for patrol rifles, as well as new bicycles for the Sunnyside Police Explorers and a Power Point projector.

Councilman Mike Farmer said the public safety subcommittee believes the purchase of all items on the list, with the exception of bicycles and the projector, are acceptable requests.

Radder told council the phone and radio recorder is a priority because the police department's current recorder has become unreliable. The projected cost is about $15,000 and the funding would come from the city's general fund.

Deputy City Manager/Chief Financial Officer Byron Olson said the item is also a priority to protect the city from liability issues.

Farmer continued, stating the alarm monitoring panel is an item the public safety subcommittee thinks should receive further attention.

"We felt an update of the alarm system should be considered by council," he said.

Council agreed, stating they would like to receive information regarding the cost of the alarm monitoring as well as the fees assessed to residents and businesses using the city's alarm monitoring service.

Mayor Jim Restucci asked the chief what the city charges and Radder said a $10 monthly service charge is billed to those using the system.

Police response, he told the council, is faster with the city's system because the police department is alerted immediately when an alarm is triggered.

Radder said there is also a fee for responding to false alarms, but that is not charged until police have responded to several false alarms at the same address.

"We don't charge a fee for private alarm systems," he said.

Further discussion regarding the new monitoring panel will take place next month as a result of the recommendation of the public safety subcommittee.

Also on the police department's wish list is the purchase of new chairs for the office. The chairs are expected to cost approximately $6,000. Olson said it is not a large sum of money, but the council needs to keep in mind the funding for the requested purchase will come from the city's general fund.

"Most offices have a replacement schedule," he said, noting there isn't in place a schedule for replacing office chairs on a rotating basis.

Olson continued, stating police officers place a lot of wear and tear on office chairs, "particularly those with arms" because of the equipment they carry, namely the officers' weapons.

The city council will consider the purchase of gas masks, office chairs and a phone and radio recorder at the next regular city council meeting, Monday, Jan. 10.

Items to be discussed further at a later date include the alarm monitoring panel, a power point projector and the purchase of bicycles for the Explorers.

Also discussed last night was the city's subcommittees. The city ordinance regarding the subcommittees mandates the members of those committees, which include the public safety committee, public works and the finance and administrative subcommittees, serve on the committees one year.

Because the subcommittees were formed late in 2010 and the council members serving on the subcommittees have only had about two months to familiarize themselves with the issues being addressed in the committees, an ordinance amendment was requested.

The council members asked for a one-time extension on the one-year term clause in the ordinance. The extension will allow the members of the subcommittees to serve until January 2012.

The amendment resolution will be on the Jan. 10 agenda for adoption.

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