EDGERTON — Edgerton Police Chief Gary Plotts Jr. spoke to the village council about his capital budget for 2022, which includes more bulletproof vests and department-owned service weapons.
Plotts, who started in the position last week, said one of the items he has in his budget is $7,500 for gear including bulletproof vests.
“That’s mainly to get me equipped with a (bulletproof) vest,” he said. “I’m currently borrowing one from my previous employer until we can get ours in. It could take up to two or three months to get in.”
Some of the money will also go to purchase more vests for the department.
While these bulletproof vests are supposed to be fitted for the wearer, in the past officers were just handed a vest and told to make it fit, Plotts said.
“That’s not how you equip an officer,” he said.
Additional vests will also help put them in a rotation, as the ballistics tend to degrade over time and should be retired after five years. Getting more vests now means that they will be in rotation and won’t all need to be replaced at the same time.
He’s also asking for $2,500 for the department to purchase duty weapons.
“Right now, every officer is using their own service weapon,” Plotts said. “That comes into a problem for multiple reasons. If something were to happen and an officer — I hope it never happens — is involved in a shooting, that gun can be put into evidence and could be ordered destroyed by the judge. Then that officer is out of a gun.”
Uniformity is also good for other worst-case scenarios. Officers utilizing the same type of gun allows for interoperability of ammunition magazines if one officer ever needs to use another’s service weapon.
“It’s just a unity thing,” Plotts said.
Plotts also asked for $15,000 for office furniture and to equip a room for training purposes.
Councilman Chuck Wallace informed him they have a training room already that the fire department has used in the past.
Plotts said he was unaware of that.
“I will look into that, I just thought it was just a break room” he said.
In addition, he’s looking at $2,500 for general upkeep at the police shooting range and possibly putting up a barn to hold barricades.
Another $1,500 will be needed for additional radios for rotation.
Separately, he also asked about increasing accessibility to the police department, especially after hours.
“I just want a little lobby, maybe we just leave that front door open as you come in and put a phone in there that rings to central dispatch if we’re out on patrol or something like that in the middle of night,” Plotts said.
That discussion spawned two separate discussions.
For one, Mayor Bob Day said the village needs to consider putting up some sort of signage letting people know the police station is in the building.
“If I’m passing through from Illinois and I’m looking for the police department, how in the world are you going to find it? There’s no signs or anything,” he said.
Plotts agreed, saying he had a couple of deliveries last week and the driver didn’t know where to find the department.
Wallace also brought up the idea of lighting the parking lot.
“You don’t want your kids walking down around a dark parking lot ... because it is pitch black,” he said, saying the village could just add a couple of street lights. “Two of them around that parking lot will light it up and make it not dark and scary but inviting.”
Day agreed, saying some LED lights, possibly attached to the back of the building, would help light it up.
In other business, council:
• Approved a memorandum of understanding with the Ohio Department of Transportation for salt and equipment storage on village property.
• Approved changing a village ordinance mandating that a police chief needs to move to the village within 90 days of their hiring to allow for a later move-by date if the chief has an agreement with the village.
• Passed an ordinance amending appropriations in order to return tax money.