BELLOWS FALLS -- The police chief reviewed the recommendations the Vermont League of Cities & Towns had for his department during a Bellows Falls Village Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday.
Timothy Cullenen, the municipal manager during the summer of 2011, contracted with the VLCT to conduct an assessment of the Bellows Falls Police Department, and Chief Ron Lake was slated with the first item on Tuesday's agenda to go over the material.
Lake said one of the recommendations was for him to meet with supervisors to develop organizational goals and objectives and to promote them with the department. He told the trustees he had three sergeants -- Det. Sgt. Shane Harris and Patrol Sgts. David Bemis and Will Frank. Lake said he has promoted Harris to a lieutenant and has daily meetings with him to talk about day-to-day operations. He said Harris adjusts his schedule to meet with Bemis and Frank every day and "they discuss and the wants and desires in the village of Bellows Falls."
The police chief said his department holds quarterly meetings with his supervisors, as the recommendations suggest, and received grant funding to put a mobile data terminals in four squad cars. He said three in-car video cameras have been purchased and there will soon be surveillance cameras at the village's police/fire facility because there is no 24/7 dispatch any longer.
One recommendation from VLCT was for Lake to join the Vermont Association of Chiefs of Police. He said there are a lot of advantages to being a member, and he left the association only to save the $100 membership fee, as he was squeezing every penny out of the budget he was given. Lake said he did the same thing with the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Village President Roger Riccio told the chief he is sure the trustees can come up with the money to rejoin the associations.
One recommendation was to explore the concept of a "mentor" for the police chief and management staff in Bellows Falls. Lake told the board he has worked in law enforcement for nearly 30 years and he never hesitates to call the police chiefs of Brattleboro, Vernon, Dover or Wilmington if he has a question.
"Do I need somebody standing beside me? I don't think so," he said, "because I'm not afraid to ask any question."
In other business:
-- Later on in the meeting, the trustees voted to restrict health insurance for village employees to Blue Cross Blue Shield in 2014.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.