Police requesting money to purchase new vehicles
The Darien Police Department will be looking to replace four of their vehicles as part of their budget request.
Chief Duane Lovello presented a $3,644,574 request that would include $197,000 to replace two Ford Crown Victoria patrol cars and two Yukon Tahoe patrol vehicles with four Chevy Caprice cars, Lovello said. Lovello explained that the Crown Victoria is no longer available.
"The Chevy Caprice appears to be the vehicle to beat," Lovello said. "We would be able to purchase them but we would do so without the ability to have them field tested."
Lovello said police departments in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia had ordered the vehicles and done plenty of research on them.
As an added bonus to upgrading some of the fleet, the newest model of the Caprice would provide better gas mileage than either the Crown Victoria or the Yukon Tahoe, Lovello said. He also noted that all of the vehicles have to contain a divider to prevent suspects from interfering with the officers and trunks that are large enough to contain supplies.
Democratic Selectman David Bayne and Republican Selectman Jayme Stevenson expressed some concern with the overtime budget for the department. Stevenson noted that the overtime accounted for almost $500,000. Lovello explained that overtime funding was hard to determine because of severe weather and holidays. Christmas and Thanksgiving contribute to a greater portion of the overtime in the first half of the year, Lovello said.
When asked by Democratic Selectman Callie Sullivan if there was a dollar amount Lovello was looking to cut his overtime budget by, he said that there wasn't a specific amount -- he was more concerned with making sure the department is able to operate properly.
Lovello was also requesting nearly $200,000 for the records department -- which he would like to increase to about $204,000 -- because of an employee who handles data entry and evidence logging. Lovello explained that the person had taken on additional responsibilities with using software to categorize the evidence.
In addition to the land patrol, the department also has a patrol unit that uses a 26-foot boat that was paid for through private donations. Lovello was looking to increase the marine unit budget to around $93,000 to allow the department to purchase cold water wet suits, motor oil and lubricants. Administrative Officer Karl Kilduff noted that the department's current cold water wet suits were very worn and needed to be replaced. Lovello said he would also like to be able to train an additional officer in a crisis situation.