Waxhaw police to see less cash for technology, for now

WAXHAW – Commissioners approved an $18,500 technology plan for the new Waxhaw Police Department this week, going back on the March 25 decision that would have seen the department move forward with an $85,000 technology package because there isn’t enough time to wait for that option.

The change, approved during the April 8 meeting, came as a result of the pending completion of the new police department facility, expected within the coming weeks, and the need for a communication system for officers. The $18,500 package will include 24 new phones, at $185 each and a $54 license fee per phone, and some software updates for laptops in the department’s police cars.

The bid process for the $85,000 technology option would have taken about 45 to 60 days before moving forward with implementation of the new technology, Mayor Daune Gardner said at the meeting. Officers will need a communication system when they move into the new facility in late April or early May.

“What Sean (Poccia) had brought two weeks ago is taking out our existing phone system and going to a system called Lync,” Town Manager Mike McLaurin said.

The new system would allow officers, and all other town employees, to have audio and video meetings through their computers and provide a way for people outside of town government to connect into the system remotely when needed. Poccia’s proposal also included a service called Event Builder, for $18,000, which would allow the town to live stream meetings. Residents currently can pay $3 for a DVD copy of a meeting.

Town leaders could choose to upgrade the communication system, which is currently only two years old, in the future, McLaurin said, but for now the police department will be able to carry out all necessary functions when the new facility is complete with the approved upgrades and additions.

“In my opinion (the Waxhaw Police Department) will be fine. The building is much larger, so we have provided them with some new phones,” he said. “… The approach we are taking is to get the phones and get a more long-term plan in place (for upgrading
technology).”

The new police department facility, at 3620 Providence Road S., cost the town nearly $7 million, with $3.5 million for the purchase of the facility and $3.6 million for renovations. The new 26,000-square-foot facility will give the department more space than it currently has and still allow room for the department to grow.  A recent space-needs assessment showed the Waxhaw Police Department needs 18,000 square feet to fulfill its daily needs.  All additional space will be used for storage until the department needs to
expand.

The town borrowed $6.5 million from SunTrust Bank to fund the acquisition and renovation of the new facility through a 15-year loan, but the new technology will come from the town’s police technology budget line item in the current year’s budget.

Commissioners also are working on plans for the new town hall facility in the historic downtown area.  The two-story building will consist of a mix of retail development and town offices, with a majority of retail on the first floor.  A cost estimate for the renovations in the town hall has not been set, but town leaders have been in discussions with a developer about possible design
options.

 

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