Council approves body cameras for Galt police | New
Galt City Council voted on April 20 to equip the city’s police officers with body and on-board cameras. In addition, the council relaunched a long-delayed C Street renovation project and decided to refinance the city’s bonds.
Police body cameras
By unanimously approving a contract to purchase cameras from Axon, which also manufactures the Taser, the board had the support of the management and officers of the Galt Police Department.
Acting Police Chief Brian Kalinowksi presented the contract to council, saying there is evidence body cameras reduce complaints against police, as well as officers’ use of force and time necessary to investigate incidents.
Kalinowski said Axon was chosen in part because his body cameras had the ability to automatically start recording when an agent pulls out his handgun or activates his Taser, while cameras from other companies do not fire. than in the first case.
The cameras also have GPS tracking and can provide real-time power to a remote location. The images would be stored on Axon cloud servers.
“I would call it the gold standard,” Kalinowski later told Deputy Mayor Paul Sandhu.
Anticipating the effects of the new program, the chef called for a change of staff and new technology. One of the department’s vacant dispatcher positions would be converted to an administrative analyst to handle an expected increase in inquiries from the public and the Sacramento County District Attorney.
Kalinowski’s tech requests included purchasing a dedicated smartphone for each officer, a provision he said emerged from discussions with the Galt Police Officers Association (GPOA).
“Currently we have a number of smartphones in the department that are pool smartphones, but this (camera) program requires connection to an individual smartphone, and we don’t have enough when we are fully staffed or overlapping teams or special events, ”says Kalinowski.
In total, the costs for the first year of the program are estimated at $ 237,190. The five-year contract with Axon is worth $ 496,000. The majority of the expenses for the first year would be financed by the Measure R sales tax, with the remainder being reimbursed by the city’s municipal insurance pool.
During public comments, GPOA chairman Michael Little spoke in favor of the contract.
“Body-worn and vehicle-mounted cameras are now a law enforcement industry standard. In fact, the Galt Police Department is one of the last agencies in the area to start using body-worn cameras, ”Little said. “The use of body-worn cameras not only creates an even higher level of transparency, but also holds both parties more accountable for their actions.”
He added that the cameras would allow “a small agency like ours to operate at a safer and more efficient level.”
Several members of the board spoke on the subject of transparency.
“I think the body-worn camera could be more transparent and more responsible,” Sandhu said. “Transparency and accountability is a big discussion across the country.”
Council member Rich Lozano, who has a background in law enforcement, said the cameras would also allow the allegations to be verified by the public.
“And I say this only because I have been involved in situations where complaints have been made that were either exaggerated or totally false, and that creates a lot of stress for the officers,” Lozano said.
When board member Jay Vandenburg inquired about the effect on Measure R’s balance, city finance director Claire Tyson clarified that the camera program would not leverage funds after the premiere. year of contract.
The equipment will arrive in early July, Kalinowski said, and Thom Mahan, an Axon representative who attended the meeting, said the company will send staff to train agents in its use.
C Street Improvement Project
The council also voted, 5-0, to hire a consultant for the C Street improvement project. The decision continues an improvement initiative that began 13 years ago but has been partially delayed.
The city started making plans to revitalize downtown Galt in 2008, and that turned into the Central Galt Complete Streets Project, which included C Street. When bids for the project were higher than expected in 2016, C Street was left out of the plans.
In 2019, Galt secured $ 2.5 million from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments to complete the remaining section. It is estimated that the entire project will cost $ 3.7 million, with the part not covered by SACOG coming from the city’s transport funds.
With the council’s vote, engineering firm Psomas will receive up to $ 528,000 for design work and public education on C Street improvements.
City public works manager Mike Selling said the upgrades would cover the C Street section of Lincoln Way to Sixth Street to stay on budget.
“We will use this money to provide landscaped medians, decorative lighting,… improved bike lanes and sidewalk and pavement repairs,” Selling told Council.
The manager added that the plan includes about a year of design and public awareness work, in order to update the plan to the current situation on C Street. At this point, a construction contract would be awarded and the work roads would start in August or September 2022.
In an emailed comment, insurance agent Rose LaVine requested that businesses along the street be made aware of the impacts of construction and parking changes.
“My business is located on C Street, along with a lot of others, and parking will be an issue,” LaVine wrote.
Speaking about Sandhu’s related concerns, Deputy Director of Public Works Mark Clarkson said Psomas had recent experience on similar projects in business districts.
“They actually showed… that they were knocking on doors,” Clarkson said. “They are constantly talking to people, and during design and also during construction, they get to know all the business people there.”
Successor agency of Galt Redevelopment
As the successor agency to the Galt Redevelopment Agency, the council has taken steps to refinance the city’s bonds.
Albert Peche of AM Peche & Associates explained that paying off the bonds at a lower interest rate could save the city about $ 1.8 million in today’s dollars over the next decade. . According to Peche, the difference between that number and the funds available to the city is about 24% of the city’s existing previous bonds.
Peche said that percentage – the net present value savings – makes it “a very good payback” because the professional group of public finance officers suggests refinancing when the savings are at least 3%.
“Most of the refunds I’ve worked on are in the range of 5-7%,” Peche continued. Now that the board has cleared the refinancing, the State Department of Finance will review and approve the plan. The new bond sale will take place in July or August.
Peche explained that the exact level of savings is affected by national interest rates; an increase in tariffs would reduce savings. However, Peche felt that rates were unlikely to rise enough to make the refinancing no longer worthwhile.
“It would take a significant change in interest rates. That would be the talk of the city… if the tariffs had increased significantly, ”Peche said.
During staff comments, City Manager Lorenzo Hines presented the program for the first Thursdays. Hines plans to hold office hours on the first Thursday of each month from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., allowing community members to book 20-minute appointments to discuss their concerns with him.
In other actions, council pushed its discussion of the Carillion Boulevard corridor plan to its May 4 meeting. It also approved taxes in three areas annexed to Community Facilities District No. 2020-1. Council member Kevin Papineau has recused himself because of the ownership of a property nearby.