Published January 16, 2019
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — The Police Department’s budget for fiscal year 2020 will be less than the current fiscal year, Police Chief David Breen told the Board of Selectmen last week.
Breen has proposed a $3,231,065 budget for the Police Department for FY’20, representing a 1.2 percent decrease over FY’19’s $3,269,661 budget.
The Police Department’s staff includes one chief, one captain, five sergeants and 15 patrol officers. The department also includes an administrative assistant, four full-time dispatchers, a part-time dispatcher and three crossing guards.
Breen has budgeted $2,272,015 for police officer salaries for FY’20, equaling a 5.1 percent increase over FY’19’s $2,160,996 budget.
The police chief noted overtime will be decreasing 29.4 percent in FY’20, totaling $401,865. The Police Department budgeted $568,985 for overtime in FY’19.
“We had additional money put into our overtime account at Fall Town Meeting to pay for two officers who were out long-term,” said Breen. “We had one officer who has been out since July 2017 and we had a supervisor out on family medical leave for an extended period of time. Not only do you have to pay them their base salary, you have to backfill those on overtime. With those unexpected costs, we had to put in extra money in the fall just to get to Spring Town Meeting. That 29.4 percent reduction in overtime is somewhat misleading.”
Selectman Phil Crawford said the Police Department has not been fully staffed due to the two officers not working.
“I think once you get that last officer in place, you will be fully staffed and that will take care of some of the overtime issues,” said Crawford.
Breen concurred with Crawford’s opinion.
“It has been four or five years since the traffic officer was approved,” said Breen. “Every year we get close to it … there is a retirement or somebody leaves and we are struggling to get back to that level. We have never actually got there. We were close this year. Officer (Jonathan) Santos was going to come in and fill that last slot, but we have another vacancy.”
Breen has budgeted $23,000 for training for FY’20, which is a 53.3 percent increase over the $15,000 appropriated in FY’19.
“We have three detectives now instead of one and all three of those detectives need to get certifications as well as our new school resource officer,” said Breen. “We adjusted that to $23,000 because that is what we anticipate we will see again in FY’20.”
Breen said the maintenance contract increased by 3.7 percent, totaling $26,025 for FY’20. The maintenance contract was budgeted at $25,100 in FY’19.
“That is just contractual,” said Breen.
Breen is also requesting $25,000 for a new phone system in FY’20. The Police Department budgeted $21,000 for its existing phone system in FY’19.
“The new phone system will be more professional,” said Breen. “When somebody calls into the station on a business line, it goes straight to the dispatcher. When people are calling for a particular officer, it will go directly to that officer without tying up our dispatcher. It will also allow officers to access their messages remotely and will forward any messages automatically to them.”
Breen noted the cost of ammunition has increased by 12.5 percent for FY’20, totaling $4,500. The Police Department budgeted $4,000 for ammunition in FY’19.
“It’s only a $500 difference between last year and what we are asking for this year,” said Breen.
Breen has requested $4,000 as part of the police chief’s training line item, representing a 33.3 percent increase over FY’19’s $3,000 allocation.
“The contract calls for $4,000, but I have never used that much,” said Breen. “It was adjusted from $3,000 back to $4,000 because there are a couple of classes I would like to attend.”
Breen said the chief’s longevity line item has increased 8.7 percent, totaling $625. In FY’19, the line item was $575.
“It’s contractual,” said Breen.
After Breen gave an overview of the preliminary operating budget for FY’20, he presented the Police Department’s proposed capital budget. The proposed capital budget for the Police Department totals $139,252.
The first capital request is $45,500 for the Police Department’s radio site upgrade project. Breen said FY’20 is the fourth year of the Police Department’s five-year plan for replacing its radios.
“We will be splitting that cost with the Fire Department,” said Breen. “The projected useful life for the radios is 15 years.”
Breen has requested a new cruiser, which has a $52,752 price tag. He prefers purchasing a Chevy SUV cruiser instead of a Ford. He noted Ford no longer makes Crown Victoria sedan-style cruisers.
“Police cruisers need to be replaced between 80,000 and 100,000 miles,” said Breen. “We try to get as much as we can out of the cruisers, and we currently have one with 120,000 miles. Some of the Ford Broncos we have been using have not lasted as long as we would like. It’s pretty common in other police departments. The Chevy’s are little more expensive but they last longer.”
Breen is requesting $9,500 for the new phone system.
The police chief has requested a cruiser radar unit, totaling $2,500. He said the radar unit would last six to eight years, and would replace a unit that is over 10 years old.
The Police Department is also looking to replace outdated computer equipment, which Breen said costs $5,000.
“We are looking to replace outdated computer components which are no longer compatible with our CJIS (Criminal Justice Information Services) software,” said Breen.
Breen is looking to replace two mobile computers located in two police cruisers, totaling $6,500.
“This change is required in order to be CJIS compliant,” said Breen.
In response to a question from Dalton, Breen said CJIS software “shares information with the state regarding motor vehicle information, warrants and restraining orders.”
“That information gets shared with us through them and some of the information is either coming back very slow or not coming through at all,” said Breen.
The seventh capital request is $2,500 for an air dryer for the Police Department’s armory.
“This is needed to prevent moisture from getting into the air compressor when the gun cleaning process is being performed,” said Breen.
Lastly, Breen is requesting $15,000 for a license plate reader.
“This would be great for a traffic officer’s cruiser,” said Breen. “It can tell if a plate is revoked, a vehicle is stolen, there is a warrant for the operator or if a license has been suspended. We don’t have this in any of our cruisers. Many of the communities around us have these.”