By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
Explaining the needs of the Clinton Police Department is a regular occurrence for Chief Brian Guy. It’s something he’s been doing for years with growing concern.
Guy revisited the issue Wednesday during a City Services Committee meeting where he asked permission to perform a pre-evaluation for a larger staffing study and guidance on what to do with the department’s increasingly cramped storage space.
The department is down from 46 sworn officers in 2008 to 40 now, a 13 percent reduction, Guy said. The evaluation would cost $1,800, which Guy has in his budget, and take place over the course of two days. The purpose would be to determine if the department had the necessary data to perform a full blown staffing study. The latter would cost between $15,000 and $20,000, which would need to be found somewhere in the city’s budget.
“I’m concerned about the police department bleeding anymore blue,” Guy said. “My biggest concern is the safety of our officers and our residents.”
Committee members agreed Guy should move forward with the pre-assessment.
Following the request for the pre-assessment study, Guy gave a detailed presentation of the strain the department is under in its current facility, showing slide after slide of rooms crowded with boxes of evidence that by law have to be retained.
“That was the presentation I gave to the Internal Operations Committee in 2008,” he said after the presentation had finished.
Guy, who has been police chief for 12 years, then showed rooms even more crowded with 50-pound a piece bankers boxes and storage rooms filled with various evidence. A video from 2008 showed the process staff had to use in order to file or search for records. In one scene, an employee dodged screws protruding from the police department roof in order to find an arrest report.
A study performed in 2002 showed the rented facility the police department is operating in is one-third of the space it needs, Guy said.
“We’ve been through this, we’ve been through this, we’ve been through this,” he lamented. “Here we are 12 years, almost, since the initial police facility study and we’re still in a rented facility that’s packed to the gills.”
One partial fix would be to use the city-owned building at 110 Fifth Ave. South. The building formerly housed Building and Neighborhood Services, but is now vacant.
The plan would be to use the entire 7,000-square-foot building. Office space would house some personnel and some records would be moved in order to get some of the weight off of the ceiling in the current police department. Guy is going to research what it would take to make the building fit the department’s needs and what cost is associated with those changes.
The Committee of the Whole will also discuss the item.