By Jay Lawson
Supervisor Ted Riehle introduced Ron Johnston, the Town of Webb’s new Police Chief, at the monthly meeting of the Town Board that was held on Tuesday, January 13th in Old Forge.
Chief Johnston began his appointment on Monday the 12th.
Johnston was on hand to request authorization to order a new police vehicle with funds that were allocated for that purchase in the 2015 Webb budget.
The details involved in the outfitting this particular vehicle for police work are still being finalized, but Johnston said delivery of it could take 14 to 15 weeks, so it should be ordered now.
Supervisor Riehle said the amount budgeted was $42,000.
The state contract vehicle, a 2015 Chevy Tahoe, was quoted at $33,413.75, according to Chief Johnston.
The cost to equip it with computers and police necessities would bring it close to the amount budgeted, he said.
“[The department] needs it desperately right now,” he said. “So, I’d like to get the ball rolling as far as ordering the vehicle itself. The [equipment that needs installing] won’t take nearly as long.”
The Board authorized the order.
Chief Johnston followed with an update on the current status of the department.
He said a lot of progress has been made with much credit going to the department’s patrolmen and Town of Inlet Police Chief Andrew Kalil, who has been assisting the Webb department.
Johnston said the department is now using an Incident Based Reporting system (IBR), and all 2014 and 2015 reports have been filed.
“We’re waiting approval to send ‘Test IBRs’ to the state,” he said.
Once the state signs off on Webb’s system, all communication will be done by computer, Johnston said.
The Uniform Crime Reporting will be done electronically, no longer using paper forms, he said.
Johnston said Patrolman Cory Leubbert has done a great job in creating forms the department needs with the new system.
The department has also received new Amber Alert Missing Child “Go Kits,” Johnston said.
Every officer will carry one and use it to expedite the Amber Alert search process, should a child go missing in the Town of Webb, he said.
Johnston said he also arranged a cleaning service for patrol uniforms.
Officers can come into contact with a variety of hazardous materials, including certain controlled substances in homes and chemicals at accident scenes.
“We are not taking the uniforms back home and putting them in our personal washers and exposing the rest of our family to a [possible] OSHA violation,” Johnston said.
Patrolman Leubbert, a recent department hiree, has completed all is Field Training Officer paperwork.
“That’s going to be turned in to Chief Petrie in Frankfort, who runs the Academy,” he said.
Herkimer County Sheriff Chris Farber is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, January 20th with additional radios for the department, Johnston said.
Chief Johnston said he did a walk-through visit at the Town of Webb school on Tuesday, January 13, where he met Superintendent Rex Germer and Principal John Swick.
Patrolman Leubbert is finishing his radar training at the St. Lawrence Academy next week, according to Chief Johnston.
He will be taking a Webb patrol car with him for the four or five days, he said.
“So we are going to be short a car for that time,” Johnston said.
A lot of the radar courses require a department issued vehicle, he said.
“So we have no choice when we send those guys to training,” Johnston said.
“We [also] found a Sheriff’s instructor who is going to come [to the Town of Webb] at no charge. The whole department will be recertified on TASERs. We are going to get that squared away hopefully by the end of the month,” he said.
Johnston said he and another officer made a trip to the New York State Police Lab in Albany.
“We made a submission on a case, while we were there,” he said.
They also got the latest forms for making submissions to the Police Lab.
“[Department members] are also doing some reorganizing, refiling and cleaning out of old files and purging what doesn’t need to be there. That is going to be ongoing,” Johnston said.