Frankford Police Chief Kevin Smith been given the green light to purchase new communications equipment he says will help the town’s police officers do their jobs.
The Frankford Town Council on Monday, Nov. 7, approved Smith’s request to spend approximately $19,000 on new portable radios his officers can carry on their belts and Cradlepoint routers for their cars.
The Cradlepoint routers will help the police to have more reliable internet service in their vehicles, Smith told the council. There are some spots in town where officers currently can’t access the internet on their laptops, Smith said.
Council Vice President Skip Ash, who was presiding over the meeting in the absence of Council President Greg Welch, said, “After listening to what you said about what you need these for, we have to have them.”
“A lot of Frankford’s a dead spot for connectivity for the computers,” in the police vehicles, Smith said. “Everything that police do now is based off of computers. The Cradlepoint system provides higher-speed internet,” he said.
“There’s spots in here that they can’t issue a ticket,” Ash said.
Smith agreed, adding, “The computer just crashes.”
“We have to put this kind of stuff up for our police officers so that they can do their jobs,” Ash said. “This is almost like a no-brainer. I saw [a police officer] last week that had a good-sized tractor-trailer pulled over and couldn’t issue a ticket because it was in a dead spot.”
Council Treasurer John Wright said he had “no problem” with purchasing the equipment but said “I just want to make sure that we’re following our policies,” regarding bids for such purchases. He asked Smith in the future to supply the council with worksheets listing the items and prices so they could better determine what needs to be done to follow through.
Smith also discussed the possibility of purchasing solar speed signs for $2,800 each.
“I just thought it might be a good idea, especially down by the park, in both directions,” he said, adding that he realizes the expenditure is “a luxury,” not a necessity.
Town Clerk Cheryl Lynch asked if the speed signs would be something that state Rep. Rich Collins could help the Town get state funding for.
Smith said the radios and the speed signs can be purchased through state contracts, and that he would work on getting a second bid for the Cradlepoint routers for the vehicles.
“Quite frankly, the equipment we need the most is the equipment installed in the vehicles — the Cradlepoints,” he said.
Wright said installation of the equipment would not have to be put out for bids, because it is considered a professional service.
Smith said that he has also spoken with the state Department of Homeland Security regarding obtaining body cameras for Frankford’s officers, in compliance with state requirements. The body cameras will be funded by the State for five years, he said.
In general, Smith said, “To my knowledge there’s no theft, burglaries, robberies, sexual assaults reported this month within the town limits,” and that “general calls for service appear to be down. Traffic enforcement was down as well,” he said. “I attribute most of that to the transition from the old chief to the new chief. Part-timers weren’t working as many hours,” he said.