By PHIL NOBILE
Town residents will see some new Department of Public Works and police vehicles and equipment in Harrison streets this coming year after recent approvals were made by the Town Council, as well as approval to bid for new police video systems.
The council authorized the town’s Purchasing Department to purchase three new public works vehicles at its most recent meeting, and, amidst an upward trend in salaries and overtime allotments, the town also approved a new vehicle and equipment for the police department.
The expenditures, approved at the Feb. 10 Town Council meeting, include two 2014 Ford trucks, one 2013 Ford truck of the same model for public works, and a 2014 Chevrolet SUV and five license plate reader systems for the police.
The purchases, which excludes the video systems, total more than $300,000 and will be taken from the 2013 public works capital budget and 2012 police capital budget.
When asked if the pur-chases were necessary, Councilman Joseph Cannella, a Republican, said “yes, if you want the town to function.”
“Purchasing used or cheaper vehicles would be extremely counterproductive,” Cannella said. “We have used vehicles that need to be refreshed. The last thing you want to do is make an investment to vehicles that have been subject to wear and tear. You want to get the longest possible use for life. Clearly you don’t accomplish that when buying something used.”
The lone item that caused some momentary hesitancy was in regards to the new in-car video systems for law enforcement. Cannella suggested the matter of going out to bid for the system be convened into executive session in order for the council to discuss alternative options to the proposed type of systems.
According to Cannella, the suggested video systems, or ones like it, has been an item for potential purchasing for a few years now, and was brought into the private session to discuss if it was the right time for the technology.
“If you want to go out and buy a computer, it would be nice if it remains state-of-the-art for months from now,” Cannella said. “In certain areas, the technology is advancing. You want to make sure you’re picking the right time to acquire it and that it’s gone through substantial analysis and testing.”
Following the council coming to a consensus behind closed doors about the video systems, the town’s Purchasing Department will now go out to bid for DTX In-Car Video Systems. Acc-ording to Federal Signal’s website, the company that manufactures the systems for law enforcement across the country, it utilizes the “most advanced digital technology ever,” and offers wireless uploading of video feed to police headquarters and other features.
The Purchasing Department was unsure of when they would go out to bid for the systems and had no estimate for the potential cost of the systems, according to Harrison Purchasing Clerk Opel McLean.
Department of Public Works Commissioner Tony Robinson could not be reached for comment.
Harrison Police Chief Anthony Marraccini was unavailable for comment as of press time.