Police car is back
The Baldwin City Police Department will now have use of another patrol car.
At least, Police Chief Steve Butell will have use of it.
The Baldwin City Council voted 3-2, with council members Todd Cohen and Ken Wagner voting against, to release the previously parked, newly-purchased patrol car to be used by Butell only.
After approving the purchase of the new patrol car two months ago, the city council voted to park the car until all officers could complete a front-wheel drive training course and a top light bar and decals could be added to the car.
Unlike the other Baldwin patrol cars, the new car is front-wheel drive. Butell said officers needed a front-wheel drive training course because front-wheel drive cars handle differently at high speeds.
Currently, Butell said Baldwin officers are scheduled to take the training course Oct. 11 and 12.
Council member George McCrary said he wanted to see the new car in use.
"We have a police car that's been parked since we purchased it," McCrary said. "The intent of that new unit was to get some relief on some of the older units on the street.
We are basically keeping a vehicle that's not in use," he said. "We've sat on it long enough."
Mayor Ken Hayes said he didn't think the car needed to be used yet.
"There's no excuse for having pieces of equipment people haven't been trained on," Hayes said. "We need to have the training scheduled, see it through, get the light bar and decals added on them, then we're ready. End of story."
McCrary said he researched the issue and the only danger with the front-wheel drive car is during high-speed pursuits.
"And our current policy is not to engage in high speed pursuits," he said. "So I would like to see that car on the streets being utilized."
Wagner said he thought all officers needed to go through the training course before the car was used.
"As far as I'm concerned, I don't see anything that has changed," he said.
"I think it's an issue of liability," he said. "For us to change our minds four weeks before training is done, is irresponsible, after we've taken the position that we did."
Wagner said it didn't make a difference that Butell would the only one driving the new car.
"We've got the same liability with Chief Butell as any other officer," he said. "It puts the city at risk when you put somebody in the car that hasn't been properly trained."
Council member Marilyn Pearse said when the council didn't understand the situation clearly when it voted to park the car.
"We didn't know the problems were just with high-speed pursuits," Pearse said. "We thought it handled differently at all times."
In other business, the city council:
Approved 5-0 to adjust sewer rates on six-month payment increase intervals, with the first increase in November from $10.19 to $12.19 per 175 cubic feet of water used.
Approved 4-1, with Wagner voting against, to deny the re-annexation request on property belonging to Michael C. Green north of Baldwin.
Approved 4-1, with Cohen voting against, the removal of a structure at 1003 Ninth St. because it was considered dangerous.
Approved 5-0 to allocate $2,500 to the city staff, through the economic development committee, to purchase trash cans for the downtown area.
Approved 5-0 to allow Citizens for Baldwin City to help with the sale of bricks left from the Sixth Street construction. CFBC will have a brick sale Sept. 29 at the city park next to the Baldwin City Municipal Pool.
Approved 5-0 to annex a section of property owned by Baldwin. The section, known as City Lake, is south of town