PLEASANT VIEW -- The radar units in five police patrol cars need replacing, Police Chief Scott Jackson said, but the city council has money for only two now and will look at replacing the others in the future.
Jackson said the need for the new units came up when the city department heads discussed a general fund surplus brought to light in a recent audit. He said he hoped some of those funds would be used to replace the radar units that are not working correctly, as they are limiting the job police officers can do.
"How is the police budget itself?" Councilwoman Mae Ferguson asked.
"We try to keep it as lean as we can. It's at about 41 percent now, right in line with 42 percent of the fiscal year," said Jackson. "We don't have access to money, except grant writing, to get all the equipment over the years. We are talking about replacing the older, malfunctioning radar equipment in our vehicles."
Jackson said the city has seven patrol vehicles with radar units. One was replaced in 2007 and one in 2009.
"We have only replaced two in the last five years. The other five are old and are starting to malfunction," said Jackson. He said the units are getting to the end of their usable life. When removed and repaired, they soon have problems again. He also said the newer radar units are the only ones that will tie into the audio and video systems in the units.
"I'm a little surprised after 10 years you can even get them fixed," Mayor Doug Clifford said.
"We have babied them, milked them along," said Jackson. "We could still do that."
"That doesn't extend the life more than a month or two," Councilman Tim Hjorten said.
Clifford said he felt investing in new radar equipment is a good use of funds.
Jackson said he hated to mention revenue, but the new radar equipment would pay for itself within a few months.
"We would appreciate anything, because every time a piece of equipment is malfunctioning, an officer is out there just doing part of their job," said Jackson. "(The radar units) do pay for themselves."
Council members unanimously approved the purchase of two new radar units with the cost for both not to exceed $6,500.