“We’re putting out fires daily,” Duchock said of the two cars.
In some cases, Duchock said, that is a literal statement because the wiring for some of the lights was done improperly and has caused the vehicles to actually catch fire on a few occasions. He also said the issues have caused radios to short out, antennae to go bad and, in one vehicle, the headlights are prone to going off as the officer drives. As the cars become higher-mileage, he said they are also having more mechanical issues that have landed both cars in the shop at the same time, leaving the officers short of vehicles for patrol. Duchock joked that they were considering borrowing a golf cart or starting a walking beat to compensate for the lack of vehicles.
Duchock recommended the council purchase either the Chevrolet Caprice, Chevrolet Tahoe or Dodge Chargers, which are more reliably built for day-to-day police work.
“Impalas are not meant for the daily, hard use of police work,” Duchock said.
Council member Hezikiah Walker made a motion to table the purchase because he felt the issues were more electrical than mechanical, and he wanted to see more cost sheets for the repairs, and council member Gary Thomas seconded the motion. Both of them, along with council member Donnie Burns, voted to table the issue. Council members Clyde Nix, Nick Isbell and Betty Sanders voted against tabling the matter. Mayor Chris Edwards, who only votes in the case of a tie, cast the deciding “no” vote.
Isbell then made a motion to purchase one Tahoe for the department and Nix seconded the motion. Isbell, Nix, Sanders and Burns voted to purchase the vehicle. Thomas and Walker voted against.
Duchock also asked the council to approve the purchase of a new camera system for the city jail. The current system is out-of-date and was never intended for police department use, according to Duchock. He said a new system would reduce the department’s liability and would be better quality, in case questions arose about the actions of an inmate or officer in the department.
The new system would cost $8,419. Sanders made a motion to purchase, Isbell seconded. Walker abstained from the vote and the other council members voted in favor of the purchase.
The money for the new vehicle and the new camera system will come from the court fund allocated for police purchases.
In other business:
•The council voted to certify the election results.
•The council voted to replace the swings at Dora’s Municipal Park.
•The council voted to rescind a previous council order to hire a temporary employee from a staffing agency to assist the city clerk, after City Clerk Cindy Vines informed them of the high cost of the hiring. One of the city’s part-time police dispatchers has been assisting Vines for a much lower cost than hiring a temp.
•The council approved an easement deed that will allow the city to repair the road leading into Piggly Wiggly and the Dora shopping center with grant money that will also complete the sidewalk project from Horsecreek Boulevard to the shopping center.
•The council approved the purchase of a reconditioned tractor for the golf course, as well as the trade-in of some older equipment that was not currently in use.
•The council approved the purchase of a John Deere attachment for the street department’s tractor. This will replace the two current attachments that have been repaired numerous times and, according to Edwards, still didn’t work properly.
•The council approved the Eagle Scout project of Justin LeVan, who asked the council to allow him to replace the bridge at the city’s municipal lake. The support for the current bridge is still sufficient, but the wooden portion needs to be replaced. LeVan, as part of his project, will raise the funds to replace the wooden portion of the bridge.
•The council heard a first reading of an alcohol license application for T.J.’s on Sharon Boulevard. The council will vote on the application at the next council meeting.
•The council approved Oct. 27 as the date for this year’s Halloween/Fall Fest. There will be a planning meeting for the event on Monday, Sept. 10, at 10 a.m. at the Dora Civic Center.