In-house installation saves $3,500

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Police Chief Chuck Forbis has been installing computer equipment for police cruisers and, on another topic, he suspects there will be another call for applications from people who want to be a police officer.

Laptop computers, a sturdy brace, a small printer and related wiring are being installed by the police chief at the police garage, according to his report to the Police Advisory Board on Thursday evening last week.

Installation might cost $500 to $750 per car, Forbis told the board, so his work is saving the department approximately $3,500, according to discussion among the board members. Installation takes about one day.

The computers were purchased with a grant and the first car with the computer is one driven by corporals. Cpl. Jackie Robertson said the new equipment is working well.

"It makes the job easier," Robertson told the board.

It's safer, too, Forbis said. Offices can know something about the vehicles they stop and probably the driver before they are approached because the computer can log into a police data base and display information in the car. Without that, the officer would make a radio call to a police dispatcher who would make the computer connection to the police data base.

In other discussion during the monthly meeting of the Police Advisory Board, Forbis was asked about vacancies on the police force.

"There aren't two yet, but there will be," he replied as he proceeded to explain that the position left open by Officer Jennifer McDonald's departure remained open.

Meanwhile, Office Jackie Sands resigned to take a job with the Maury County Sheriff's Department as a deputy.

Police Chaplain Shaun Grant had been recommended by the Police Advisory Board to succeed McDonald who left to care for an ailing mother. City Manager Eddie Fuller has explained that decision had been placed "on hold." Some city councilmen had indicated their preference for more experience and training.

McDonald was scheduled to go to the Tennessee Peace Officers Standards and Training Academy in Donelson, but she never started. That seat in the classes had expired. McDonald has experience, but her certification expired.

In a related matter, the Police Advisory Board's minutes - from the meeting when Grant was recommended - were accepted. They show that all members present, except Councilman Odie Whitehead Jr., voted to recommend Grant. Members of the Board have said Whitehead gave no response when the vote was called, therefore he was counted as having abstained.

"How to you propose to fill these vacancies?" Board Chairwoman Lina Horner asked Forbis.

"I've given all the applications (left over from when McDonald was hired) to Mr. Fuller.

"I have a feeling that because of the second opening, we may re-advertise," Forbis said.

Fuller this week said no decision had been made.