By GABRIEL GOODWIN
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE — The City Council approved an upgrade for surveillance equipment in the detective bureau’s interview rooms along with the purchase of three new police vehicles Monday night after Police Chief Daniel Grant presented the need within the department.
Grant told the council the current system used within the interview rooms has worked well, but newer technology and additional requirements by the state of Michigan require the department to upgrade the system.
Detectives encounter problems when they try to store the recorded interviews in the Records Management Systems, he said, and the system upgrade would allow for a higher quality recording, while offering better access for court proceedings.
The changes in regulations stated the department is required to record interviews of suspects accused of felonies that carry penalties of 20 or more years, and Grant said the upgrade would allow the department to comply with the new regulations.
Grant sought $2,043.88 from the city to purchase and install the new system, but said the money would be paid back with a Community Oriented Policing Services grant from the Downriver Community Conference.
“Upgrading the interview recording system will ensure compliance with Michigan law while assisting our agency in the delivery of quality service to our residents and it will be completed at no cost to the city of Wyandotte,” he said.
Along with the upgrades to the recording systems, Grant said the department needed to replace some vehicles that recently were decommissioned. The department will purchase three new Police Interceptor Chevrolet Tahoes with money from the department’s vehicle account and the OWI Forfeiture fund — money generated when the department seizes vehicles used by repeat drunken driving offenders.
Two of the Tahoes would be paid for with the department vehicle funds, Grant said, while the third would be purchased for $28,168 and financed with the forfeiture funds.
He told the council he relies heavily on the knowledge and recommendations of the department’s mechanics on when to decommission and replace vehicles. Three vehicles were recently considered unfit for road duty and Grant explained that those vehicles had “over 100,000 miles and were beyond their life cycle.”
In comparison to the other police vehicles available to local departments — Dodge Charger, Ford Taurus and Explorer, and Chevrolet Caprice — Grant said the Tahoe was highly rated, the most reliable and efficient. He said the Tahoe felt like it would exceed the needs of the department and provided enough room to transport the necessary equipment and the “sometimes larger individual” an officer may arrest.