During Monday night’s city council meeting, Dublin Police Chief Lannie Lee presented a proposal to the council that would allow his officers to purchase items directly related to their work by working out a payment plan with the city.
Tommy Sperry, a council member who frequently “rides out” or goes on duty with officers, began hearing that the officers want items such as police rifles or more advanced hand-held radios. He brought his concern to Lee, who then asked Sperry to draw up a proposal to submit to the council.
“I did not initiate the program, but I am 100 percent behind it,” Lee said.
In the proposal presented to the council, many specifics are outlined that detail the loan amount, items that can be purchased and the time limit in which they must be paid off.
The top loan amount for an item purchased is $1,500 and must be paid within a year, although the length of the loan can be as short as the officer wishes it to be.
In order for an officer to use the program, they must prove the use of the equipment and how it is directly related to their job function; items not directly related to police work will not be approved. Once the request has been submitted to Lee, City Manager Jerry Guillory will review it and give it the final approval or denial. The program will exclude items such as gun belts, uniforms, protective vests and pepper spray.
Officers are hoping to purchase sidearms and a more effective hand-held radio, two things Lee calls “lifelines.”
“These two items determine whether or not the officers go home to their families at night. We are a small force with limited availability for backups, so these items become vital,” Lee said.
Officers would have to pay a minimum of $25 a week for the items, but the city would provide up front costs. The officer is also required to take proper care of the item, which will be inspected by Lee.
“If the item is not properly taken care of, the city has the right to revoke the equipment, with the offending officer being responsible for the cost of repairs,” Lee said.
Lee said that he has worked on other forces where this program is available and feels comfortable operating this program in Dublin.
After the proposal was presented, the council voted unanimously to allow officers to purchase items.
“If these officers need something, let’s give it to them,” said council member Aaron Locke.
Lee said there are officers on the force who already have their purchases picked out and are awaiting the program to begin officially.
“The bottom line is that we want this program to work for both the officers and the city. It will work for the city when the officers have what they need to fully protect the citizens, and it will work for the officers when they have the means to protect themselves and their fellow officers,” Lee said.