By Nicholette Carlson
SYRACUSE — The November meeting of the Syracuse Board of Metropolitan Police Commissioners, held Tuesday, Nov. 17, began with accepting the October minutes. Discussion then turned to the grant received from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and the CARES Act grant.
Police Chief Jim Layne stated the Syracuse Police Department was approved for the State Homeland Security grant. However, he discovered afterward it is a reimbursement grant. That means payment for equipment must be made through the town, then the receipts are sent to the state and the state will reimburse the town 100% of the cost.
The department was approved for a total of $214,375. Layne explained the breakdown for the grant would include: 12 portable all band radios at a cost of $77,249.12; three portable walk-through metal detectors at a cost of $11,850; two code blue security help points at a cost of $30,000; and a physical security access control system at a cost of $95,275.88. The metal detectors would be shared where needed, including the school and town hall. The security help points are planned to go between Syracuse Elementary School and Wawasee High School. The physical security access control system would be installed at the school.
Layne mentioned the reimbursement wait time is between two weeks to a month currently. Since the payment must be made through the town, Layne inquired as to which fund it should come from. It was mentioned the economic development income tax fund could be used and discussion would continue at the evening’s town council meeting.
Layne then brought up the all band radios would give the department better quality communication, not only with one another but also with other counties. They will also be able to communicate throughout all areas of Kosciusko County and even throughout the state.
The police department also received a grant for COVID relief totaling $93,000 that can be shared between the police department and fire department. Layne requested $57,935.70 be used for 10 in-car all band radios. The board discussed talking with Fire Chief Mickey Scott to see what reimbursement requests he had made through the county, which had received a $2 million grant, before determining how much to reimburse the fire department through the COVID relief grant.
There is also a $5,000 terminal service agreement fee, which goes to dispatch.
There are currently two 2014 police vehicles Layne would like to get replaced as the leases should be up this year. He mentioned working with Mike Noe, town manager, to create a vehicle replacement plan. Layne suggested replacing each of the vehicles every five years. He plans to begin getting quotes for vehicle replacement.
Parking, particularly with the two-hour street parking uptown, continues to be an issue. Complaints have been received regarding cars not following the two-hour rule. However, Layne mentioned the department does not have a meter maid to consistently enforce parking and they are no longer allowed to mark tires. Therefore, removing the two-hour limit is a possibility.
Problems with semi trucks turning uptown was also mentioned. Layne suggested the possibility of removing one parking spot on the north and south ends and moving the stop line back to give semis more room to turn.
Brandon Shipp began Nov. 2 and is on the road after transferring from the Milford Police Department having already completed academy classes. Corey Kenworthy is scheduled to leave for the academy in February.