More police cars to get cameras

Published 8:11 pm Friday, June 4, 2010

Three additional Bainbridge Public Safety Patrol cars will be equipped with audio/visual recording systems with the help of a federal grant, as part of an ongoing effort to have the entire fleet so equipped.

At Tuesday’s Bainbridge City Council meeting, the City of Bainbridge and Decatur County were awarded $16,731 through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant. Although the JAG award is normally shared, since the amount is relatively low, Decatur County agreed to let Bainbridge use these funds in return for it getting the next, City Manager Chris Hobby explained.

The grant will be used to purchase dash-mounted recording systems from ICOP Digital, the same manufacturer whose systems were put into 14 BPS patrol cars last year, Hobby said.

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Asked after the meeting what the benefits of having recording systems in patrol cars, Hobby said they are primarily a “management tool that protects the officer in the event of an incident.”

Hobby said the recordings can be used as evidence in the event a citizen complains about an officer’s speech or conduct during a traffic stop or other incident. In the past, when no cameras were installed in BPS cars, it was the citizen’s word against the officer’s, which made situations more complicated.

The cameras activate automatically any time a patrol car’s overhead lights turn on, Hobby said. They record the view from the front of the patrol car and also capture audio from a microphone.

Georgia State troopers and Decatur County Sheriff’s deputies have already been using similar camera systems for several years.

Alcoholic beverage license tabled

A request to transfer a convenience store’s alcoholic beverage license from one co-owner to another was tabled until next month and could be denied due to multiple issues, according to Hobby.

Hobby, who said city staff recommended the application be denied, noted that under the city’s new alcoholic beverage license, the person making the request must be given a hearing to state why the application should not be denied.

The request was made by Daljit Singh, the registered owner of Singh Food Mart at 2200 S. West St., to transfer the store’s license from his wife, Baljeet Singh.

The first problem was that Mrs. Singh, when contacted, was not aware the request had been made, the city manager said.

The larger issue was that a criminal history on Mr. Singh conducted by Bainbridge Public Safety contained misdemeanor offenses within the last five years, which would make him ineligible to hold a license under the terms of city ordinance, according to Hobby.

Singh was arrested by BPS three times within the last week of May, including for robbery on May 26.

Bids and Bills

There were no bills. The council voted unanimously to approve the following bids:

Bids: $10,500 from Tifton Turf Farms of Tifton for change order to furnish and install additional irrigation systems in the infields at Bill Reynolds Sports Park Phase 3; $11,021 from Southern Cross of Norcross, Ga., for leak survey on approximately 80 miles of main, 1,700 services and 1 mile of LP gas; $4,150 from Kendall Supply of Atlanta, Ga., for Water Department supplies; and $15,681.90 from Dollar Farm Products of Bainbridge for 52.5 tons of lime and six tons of fertilizer to be used to help grass grow at Bill Reynolds Sports Park Phase 3.