The police department is requesting an 11.8 percent increase in its budget for fiscal year 2016-17, up to a total of $3,369,049 from $3,012,306 for the current year.
The request includes $7,990 to lease 20 body cameras for officers. At the end of the three-year lease, the department would own the cameras, Chief Lawrence Capps told the Town Council’s finance committee March 16.
Capps also told the committee his department would be looking for a new police station in the next five years or so. He said he has consulted with other police departments that recently built stations and estimates it would take about $4 million to build, including land acquisition.
“I don’t know that you’re absolutely going to be on the hook for trying to figure out funding for ’20-21,” he said. “One thing I can tell you is, we’re out of storage space and we are out of work space where we currently are and what we currently have.”
He said he is trying to figure out a way to transfer funds saved from salaries this year to address the current storage shortage for a few years.
The largest budget request for next year is $1,779,981 for salaries, up 11.9 percent from this year.
Total personnel costs, including health insurance and overtime would be more than $2.6 million, up 11.2 percent from this year’s budget of just over $2.3 million. The overtime request is up 66.7 percent.
A $113,400 grant from the Governor’s Crime Commission will partially fund two new traffic officers, including uniforms, gear and $35,000 toward new cars. The town would chip in a 15 percent match of $17,010 and $4,814 toward each new car, Dodge Chargers.
The department is also requesting four new Ford Explorers, three of which would be replacements for aging vehicles currently in the fleet.
A state grant would also contribute more than $10,000 for a new officer who will serve primarily as a school resource officer, rotating between Knightdale High School and the town’s elementary schools. The town would be responsible for salary and benefits.
The department is also seeking nearly $17,000 in state grants to update riot gear such as gas masks, helmets, shields and batons. The department currently has no gas masks, Capps said.
“The events of recent years,” he said, “and God forbid we ever have one here, just get police administrators thinking about, ‘What is our capability to respond to something like that if we were to ever have it?’ and the truth is we wouldn’t have the capability right now because, No. 1, we don’t have the equipment.”
Capps said the budget request includes a $2,700 increase for uniforms over this year in order to pay for rain wear. The department took out funding for footwear to offset the cost.
Administrative Services Director Suzanne Yeatts said the committee would be looking at budget requests from other departments in upcoming meetings and that there would be time to revisit the police request once everyone has been heard from.
Matt Goad: 919-829-4826