The Chicopee City Council approved several requests by Mayor Richard J. Kos for appropriations of funds for Public Safety capital improvements at their February 6th meeting. The eight appropriations totaled $1,140,088.20 and were taken from the stabilization and free cash accounts. On January 30th, 2018, a special meeting of the City Council was called to discuss capital planning requests for all City Departments, including the Fire and Police Departments.
The eight appropriations for Public Safety included:
A $500,000 appropriation request from the Stabilization Fund was approved for the purchase of a new Fire Pumper Truck to replace an aging Engine #8 Pumper Truck at Station 8 in Fairview. This Fire Pumper truck has a 750-gallon water tank and can pump 1,500 gallons per minute. The current Engine #8 is a 2002 model and will remain in the fleet as a reserve apparatus.
A $324,550 appropriation request was approved for the purchase of five new “marked” police cruisers and three new “unmarked” police cruisers and their outfitting. These new cruisers will replace aging SUV cruisers with high mileage and wear, which will be traded-in.
Two appropriation requests were approved for the purchase of three speed alert message signs for the Police Department, totaling $63,970, and 6 permanent solar-powered speed indicator signs, totaling $30,600 that will be installed in various locations around the City by the DPW Highway Department. Two trailer-mounted SpeedAlert 24” signs and one SpeedAlert 18” portable sign post will be used by the Police Department in areas where there are issues with excessive speed but are not suitable for a permanent speed indicator. They also have the ability to display messages and photograph speeding vehicles.
City Council also approved an appropriation request of $74,630 for the purchase of a 21-foot jet boat to be shared by both the Police and Fire Departments. It will replace two aging and deteriorating rescue boats, both over 18 years old. Because Chicopee is situated along both the Chicopee and Connecticut Rivers, rescue teams and underwater officers must be ready in the event of a water emergency. The boat has a special gel-coating to protect against debris in the river. By sharing the jet boat, it will allow for combined training between Police and Fire personnel in water rescue and emergencies.
An appropriation of $30,220 from free cash was made for the replacement of Police Department firearms. The Police Department will be replacing 210 Glocks, which are over 12 years old. They will be purchasing 180 full size and 30 compact size next-generation Glock models for $85,890 and will trade in 212 previously used weapons for a value of $55,670. The upgrade will not require any additional costs as current holsters and ammunition sleeves can still be used with the new weapons.
With ongoing renovations at the Safety Complex on Church Street, the Police Department will be upgrading their scheduling and payroll software. A $22,488 appropriation request was approved by City Council for the upgrade in software which will allow the department to notify officers by phone or computer via an app of their schedule and overtime opportunities, as well as handling outside detail scheduling. The new software is compatible with MUNIS, the software program that the City uses for payroll, purchase orders and contract management, and budgeting. This upgrade can also help free up two officers for other duties.
City Council accepted the FY 2018 State911 Support and Incentive grant for Emergency Medical Dispatch training from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety in the amount of $158,747. The grant will reimburse 80% of overtime costs of training. The Council also approved an appropriation request of $94,097.20 to cover the overtime and special services related to the training for 76 members for the Fire Department to maintain their certification as emergency medical dispatchers. The State E911 grant will reimburse 80% of these overtime costs and 100% of the special services costs; however, proof of payment must be submitted before the City can be reimbursed.
“I would like to thank Mayor Kos and our City Councilors for their continued support of Public Safety with their approval to purchase a fire pumper with 1500 gallons per minute capability. This purchase will put the fire department in a very solid position in terms of our ability to respond with reliable apparatus when needed,” said Fire Chief Dean Desmarais. “I would also like to thank them for their approval of the purchase of a Public Safety rescue boat for use in either fire department or police department rescue efforts. With these purchases, the citizens of our city will receive protection at a much higher level due to dependable equipment. The citizens deserve that and we are happy to supply it.”
Chief of Police William Jebb would like to express his gratitude to the Mayor and City Council for their continued support of his department. “With the recent approval of funds to better equip his officers with new firearms, to replace our older models, adding to the patrol, and unmarked fleet of cruisers, replacing higher mileage vehicles, and ensuring no cruiser shortages, and replacing our outdated safety rescue boat, with a new, modern vessel, that can operate in only 3” of water, they continue to show their support for law enforcement, and the men and women of his department, and the importance of public safety for all the citizens in the City of Chicopee.”
“Investment in public safety in Chicopee continues and I thank the City Council for their continued support and Chief Jebb and Chief Desmarais for their leadership,” said Mayor Kos.