Chatham chief pushes for new rides

CHATHAM–Village Police Chief Peter Volkmann presented the Village Board with estimates for the purchase and buying and outfitting a new police car at the board’s regular meeting last week.

“We’re in desperate, desperate need of a car,” he told the board.

The Dodge Charger that Chief Volkmann wants to purchase as soon as possible would cost $24,500 plus $7,000 for equipment like lights, the “cage” needed in a police car and the $600 to paint the car.

The chief told the board at the March 13 meeting that there is enough money in the Police Department budget to buy a new car and that he hopes to lease another car in the next year’s budget. He said right now village police have only one car that works properly. “If this car breaks down, then there is no Police Department,” he said.

As for acquiring another new car next year, Chief Volkmann said the village has just finished the payments for one of its old patrol cars and had budgeted $8,000 a year to pay off that lease. He said the village could lease another car in the 2014-15 budget for the same amount but he said “I would give back $5,000 from my pay, that’s how important a car is.” He said his offer would reduce the lease payments by the village for a leased car to $3,000 a year. Chief Volkmann is a part-time police chief hired by the Village Board last in October.

Mayor Tom Curran said the board would look at the quotes for the new car and get back to the chief at a special meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 27 at 7 p.m. The board is currently putting together next year’s budget, which runs from June 2014 through May 2015.

The chief also said he was looking into adding cameras to the cars and equipping officers with body cameras. “It’s for officer’s safety,” he said of the cameras. T chief said that the cameras help with liability and other issues. The cameras would also have GPS software that reports the camera’s exact location, information that would be stored on a secure server.

One task the part-time police force will now take on is handing out tickets for sidewalks that are not shoveled. Village law requires that homeowners clear their sidewalks within 24 hours after a storm or risk being fined $50. For sidewalks that aren’t cleared within the 24-hour period, the village is supposed to remove the snow, according to the law and impose the fine on the owner of the property.

“It’s mostly the application of the law that is the problem,” said Mayor Curran.

Chief Volkmann said the officers on patrol will do rounds in the village and issue a warning to homes where the snow and ice have not been cleared.

“They are not there to arrest, they are there to inform,” said the chief.

The board also put off making any decision on repainting and coating the water tower until a study is done of the whole water system in the village. The mayor asked Trustees Adrienne Morrell and Michael Wollowitz to create a request for proposals for the work on the system.

A leak in the water tower was scheduled to be repaired this week.

The next village meeting will be a special meeting Thursday, March 27 at 7 p.m. At the Tracy Memorial. The next regular meeting is Thursday, April 10 at 7 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

 

 

 

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