Police, fire departments to update equipment
By JESSICA CRAWFORD • Daily Leader
The Liberal Police Department and the Liberal Fire Department both addressed the city commission at the Tuesday evening meeting with needs for their respective departments. Both departments received approval from the commission to move forward with their respective projects.
Police chief Al Sill expressed the need for new equipment for interview rooms and a new truck to be utilized by the 12-man tactical team.
“We are in the process of remodeling the police department and doing some expansion work as well,” Sill explained. “With that, we are adding some additional interview rooms. The kind of equipment that we have right now is used to record interviews, we want to add some more and we want to add surveillance to our juvenile holding room and the room we are adding up front where the officers will receive citizen reports.”
The new equipment would allow officers throughout the building to watch interview footage from their computers rather than standing outside the interview room. According to Sill, this will allow for a more productive interview.
“This will present us a huge advantage because then we don’t have multiple people standing around the interview room watching the interview in progress while the guy is inside knowing there are people outside viewing,” he said. “That tends to hamper his willingness to give the information we need.”
According to Sill, 2M Solutions Inc. has the appropriate equipment at a cost of $6,364 that has been set aside in the 2008 budget.
Sill also addressed the need of a new SRT Tactical truck for the needs of the tactical team. In the past, they have not had an efficient way to transport the team to locations.
“We have had this team in place for 10 years or more and we have used multiple vehicles to get this team to locations,” he said. “None have been efficient, none have been effective and all we have had available to us have been totally cumbersome to the needs of this team.”
The LPD has looked at several types of vehicles and feel that a 2003 GMC Step Van will be most suited for their needs.
“We have looked at all types of vehicles,” he said. “We have recently found a vehicle that will suit our needs for now and the better part of the next 20 years. The vehicle is a 2003 GMC Step Van, it has a cargo box on it that has outside storage. It can carry our 12-man team and all of their equipment.”
The van is currently located in Madison, Wis. The LPD will send a representative to Madison in order to inspect the vehicle. The dealership has offered the LPD a 1,000 mile drive train only warranty. According to Sill, the 888-mile drive back from Wisconsin will determine whether or not the van is sound.
The cost of the van is $21,898 and has already been earmarked in the
2008 budget. The commission approved this purchase with the stipulation that it must be well inspected prior to the final purchase.
Fire chief Kelly Kirk proposed the purchase of a new structural firefighting apparatus. With two trucks already in the fleet aging, Kirk feels now is the appropriate time to replace one of them.
“Two pumpers are 1991 models that are identical except for the numbers on the doors,” he said. “These trucks are getting older, they are 17 years old. We have had pump failure on two of them three times in the last four years.
“When that happens, we basically have one structural pumper and a ladder truck, so we are taking our half-a-million-dollar ladder truck to grass fires,” he added. “We don’t have any reserve capacity when we retired 15 and 16 back in 2006.”
Kirk has comprised a plan that will possibly extend the life of these two trucks until 2013. Only one of them will need to be replaced at that time.
“Our plan is to take engine 18 and 19 and rotate them 6 months at a time,” he explained. “We could do routine maintenance on them and we can extend the life of the 6 more years. In 2013, we will be looking to buy a new one. That will give us a five-year separation, rather than having to buy two new trucks at the same time.”
The estimated cost of the new structural firefighting apparatus is $285,000. The Special Fire Equipment budget stands at just over $286,000, Kirk said.
The board approved the LFD ask specific vendors for bids on the project. Upon receiving the bids, Kirk will then again address the commission with his findings.