Commonwealth Journal

News Live

April 26, 2013

Acting police chief: ‘We’re worn out’

(Continued)

Somerset —

That means more officers need to be trained to reconstruct accidents, which is a special detail that must be carried out by those trained officers in the event of fatal accidents. Nelson said that’s thousands of dollars in additional training costs. 
Nelson also said an influx of special events, such as 5K run/walks, and traditional evens such as Somernites Cruise and Master Musicians Festival, are keeping his officers incredibly busy. 
“And guys, we don’t get no help,” said Nelson. “It is what it is. Your overtime money that you budgeted goes toward events and covering the streets.”
And recent upgrades to the department’s radios, in order to stay in compliance with new regulations, has cost the department about $10,000, according to Nelson. Nelson also said the department is in dire need of upgrades to its firearms as well. 
“It’s a nightmare when you get your pistol out and it malfunctions on you,” said Nelson. 
But Nelson emphasized that the variety of training programs SPD officers undergo are necessary in order to keep the agency on the leading edge of law enforcement agencies. 
Nelson said SPD’s new crime tip program, during which people who wish to report a crime anonymously can do so via text or online, has garnered some attention from law enforcement agencies across the nation. 
“You was really one of the first that developed that program,” Nelson told the city council. 
Officers also undergo active shooter training programs, and SPD has an aviation program featuring the AutoGyro Calidus. Through use of that aircraft, SPD has been able to conduct aerial patrols, assist patrol units with radio calls, monitor traffic flows during special events, and conduct surveillance and inspection of critical infrastructure owned by the city. 
Nelson said he will be forced do de-obligate grant funds for a DUI program and a traffic safety program because he doesn’t have the staff to carry those programs out. 

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