Police commission looks at re-allocating some budget funds

 

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

 

The Mar-Mac Police Commission was told March 4, at its bi-monthly meeting, that the police department will need to make computer upgrades within the next month—something that was not accounted for in the budget.

 

Chief Jason Bogdonovich said all the department’s computers run on Microsoft Windows XP. Come April 8, that will no longer be supported, leaving the computers, which are filled with highly-confidential information, unprotected and vulnerable to outside attacks.

 

There is no guarantee something would happen if the computers were not upgraded, but the department does not want to take that chance.

 

The upgrade would include getting rid of the five computers at the police station, as well as the in-car computers. Three of the station computers—a server computer and computers for the police chief and secretary/treasurer—would be replaced. The two deputy work station computers and in-car computers would be eliminated. Instead, the department would like to get each deputy a Panasonic Toughbook, a rugged and more durable laptop that can be used in both the car and at the deputy’s work station.

 

The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office has transitioned to using Toughbooks for both in-car and desk use.

 

Nothing was budgeted for the upgrade, which initial estimates place around $20,000, as the department did not find out about the issue until recently.

 

However, due to a personnel change, with the new chief and deputy coming in at lower salaries than their predecessors, as well as a re-allocation of some funds, secretary/treasurer Kris Eulberg said funding is available for this and two other projects.

 

“It’s amazing, but it’s probably doable,” Eulberg said. “It’s a fluke year to have that happen, which is good with the computer thing.”

 

One of those other projects is a car replacement. Bogdonovich  provided the commission with some initial bids for a new car. The cars up for consideration are a Chevrolet Impala, Ford Interceptor and all-wheel and rear-wheel drive options of a Dodge Charger.

 

Officer Dylan Rumph attended the meeting and said most area departments have transitioned away from the Impalas, which the Mar-Mac Police Department currently has. When asked for his preference, he said he has driven them all and would prefer the Interceptor or the Charger.

 

Eulberg said the department has $23,000 to spend on a vehicle. Costs ranged from $24,000 to nearly $27,000, but Bogdonovich said some aspects were estimated, so the figures were not completely accurate.

 

The commission tabled the issue and asked Bogdonovich to get some more accurate estimates to present to them at their next meeting.

 

The new vehicle would likely be ordered sometime in May, with the department taking possession in July.

 

The other project the Mar-Mac Police Department would like to complete this year is the installation of in-car cameras. Bogdonovich had applied for a $11,136.75 grant from the Upper Mississippi Gaming Corporation last year to purchase three cameras, for which the total cost is $14,849. However, the department only received $5,000 from UMGC, causing them to search elsewhere for funding.

 

Bogdonovich said he has applied for a $1,000 grant from the Clayton County Development Group and should hear back soon on whether the department received funding. With that award, $8,849 would still be needed.

 

The commission set a special meeting for Thursday, March 13, at 6 p.m., to further discuss the projects and budget re-allocation.

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