Cheney Free Press -

 
 

By JOHN McCALLUM
Editor 

Cheney police seek to maintain level of service with money

 


When it comes to department goals in the coming year, Cheney Police Chief John Hensley is keeping it pretty simple.

“Providing the same level of service as last year,” Hensley told the City Council at its Oct. 22 meeting.

The department is proposing a 2014 budget of $2,462,600; $37,400 less than this year’s budget. The budget reflects just over a 2.2 percent increase in salaries and benefits, up from $1,878,300 to $1,921,200 that is offset by a 14.3 percent decrease in maintenance and operations, much of which comes from operating rentals and leases.

Most of this funding will come out of the city’s proposed $6,787,500 general fund account, with Hensley projecting about $466,800 in revenue coming into the department through a variety of means ranging from the new school resource officer contract with the school district to various fees and reimbursements. The revenue figure represents a 5.36 percent decrease from 2013’s budgeted $471,800.

Through September, overall crime in Cheney is down by over 20 percent as compared to September 2012. Calls for service are also down slightly compared to this time last year, with reports generated from those calls down 15.95 percent.

Computer aided dispatch calls are also down overall, although calls for aid from Eastern Washington University police are up just over 5.7 percent.

“The increase in EWU calls is due to lockouts and false alarms,” Hensley told the council.

Some of the department accomplishments Hensley listed in 2013 are replacing of handheld and mobile police radios and the communication center’s audio recorder using outside grant funding and replacement of three all-wheel-drive patrol vehicles through a leasing program. The department also recruited and appointed four new Volunteers In Policing (VIP) members, hired two reserve officers, participated in several Washington State Traffic Grant emphasis patrols, approved a new school resource officer contract with the school district and changed the old manual rolling with ink fingerprinting process to a fully digital system.

In 2014 the department is gearing up for obtaining Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs re-accreditation, recruiting, selecting and hiring at least two more reserve officers, replacing the aging department video recording server and recruiting and bringing on board two more VIPs.

The department also wants to replace three police vehicles through a leasing program, explore strategies to add another police officer to the patrol staff, upgrade to the NG-911 system through the Spokane County Emergency 911 project and complete the radio system conversion to the county’s 800 megahertz switchover.

John McCallum can be reached at jmac@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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