Hopkinsville City Council held its first Committee of the Whole meeting of 2021 via Zoom on Thursday to discuss administrative matters, reports and future spending that will be brought to the next council meeting.

Hopkinsville Police Department Deputy Chief Michael Seis introduced the council to the idea of adding new body and vehicle cameras to the department.

According to Sies, HPD first implemented the use of body cameras six years ago to increase trust and transparency while improving evidence collection.

With costly bid prices starting at $1 million with 20-30% down, Sies hoped to show the council the many benefits of updating the system.

All vendors who placed bids allowed for a five year, 0% financing payment option, Seis explained.

Sies said that the current HPD system is no longer supported by the manufacturer. The issues with the current system Sies said are manual activation, long downloading time — requiring docking at the department — as well as lack of warranty.

Sies suggested that HPD’s new cameras should have multiple activation points such as when the car’s lights turn on, when certain speeds are attained, running and geo fencing.

He said that multiple “trigger points” for body cameras can reduce human errors.

Sies continued to explain that the current system makes sharing evidence files with the courthouse, prosecutors and the clerk’s office strenuous and time consuming.

The potential new system provides multiple activation points, file downloading through wifi, easy sharing and the capability to fully charge in 30 minutes.

Hopkinsville Comptroller Melissa Clayton explained how the city would be able to finance the cost. She recommended that the council use a percentage of the second round of CARES Act funding for the down payment.

“We received that money by using the first responders wages, specifically police and ECC,” Clayton said.

The second round of CARES funding totals $690,742, according to Clayton. After the initial $300,000 down payment, $390,742 would remain, she explained.

Clayton detailed how the second through fourth installments would be paid by pre-established budgets.

The council would need to find $143,000 for the final installment in the 2024/25 fiscal year.

The council voted unanimously to pass the topic to the next city council meeting.

In other council business, the council discussed a LDC bank loan for the Old First City Bank Building.

Holly Boggess, assistant director of Community Development Services, shared that the LDC is acting on behalf of the city to renovate the south side of the first floor of the Old Fist City Bank Building so that it may house the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Read ID program.

Boggess explained that the city has an eight year lease agreement with the Commonwealth of Kentucky for annual payments amounting to $37,062. She also mentioned that the project will cost approximately $330,000.

Boggess suggested that the city has enough funds to finance the project without borrowing from a bank.

The council voted unanimously to forward the proposition to the next city council meeting.

Also on the committee agenda, the council was set to hear from Darrel Gustafson about the Bruce Convention Center financial update.

After an objection from Councilmember Chuck Crabtree in which he stated he believed the council was not given adequate time to review the financial update, a motion was set forward and passed 9-2 to have Gustafson present the update at the next committee meeting in February.

The city council will meet on Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. via Zoom. The next COTW meeting will take place on Feb. 18 at 6 p.m.

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