DOVER -- Dover Police Chief Randy Johnson was given permission to take $5,544 out of a drug forfeiture fund to replace a camera in one of the department cruisers. The new equipment will replace a camera that operated using a disc and will back up to the system upon the cruiser’s arrival back to the police station.
"This is all digital," said Johnson. "Right now, when the disc gets full, it has to be emptied."
The forfeiture fund had $10,081 in it at the time of the Selectboard meeting on May 20.
Johnson told the board the money was from a forfeiture that happened many years ago. It was during a drug bust in which the police department seized $20,000 from a house where drugs were being sold.
With the department purchasing a new vehicle this year, there was no additional funds for the camera, he said.
The fund was last used in May 2013. Former police chief Bobby Edwards requested to take money for a total station, which is a piece of equipment used to precisely draw out a scene and provides a detailed reconstruction of an accident or a crime.
At the meeting, the Selectboard reviewed Town Administrator Carlo Pilgrim’s proposal for having a town credit card issued to three department heads. The board ultimately decided to issue one to Johnson alone.
He said it would only be used for gas in the cruisers and in-house only. That meant for purchases that need a card. Before gaining approval to get a card, Johnson and other officers used their own then got reimbursed.
"I just think it’s wrong that they have to put out money when they’re going some place to benefit the town or on police business. They get reimbursed and then all of a sudden are in credit card debt," said the chief. "I’m hearing more and more that a lot of departments have it."
According to Johnson, officers from the Wilmington Police Department were each issued a credit card. But Johnson requested only one.
"It’s just something that needs to be done. Otherwise it’s going to handcuff us," he added. "It’s in my control. The only way it’s going out is with my approval."
Pilgrim’s initial proposal included giving town-issued credit cards to West Dover Fire Chief Rich Werner and Economic Development Director Ken Black.
Before leaving, Johnson mentioned that a law was passed before the end of legislative session, which he had previously stated concerns about. The bill makes it so that by July 2015, part-time police officers can only handle certain situations.
Currently, part-time Dover officers work by themselves especially during the summer. Sending all part-time officers to the Police Academy for more training could become a possibility.
Johnson said with part-time officers only certified to go on certain calls, there may need to be a full-time officer in the Deerfield Valley on standby. Selectboard Chairman Randy Terk said it will be noted for future budget talks.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.