Provo often leads the county in many fields. Considering the budget problems municipalities face in today’s economy, I have often found myself quite impressed with the great level of service which the city continues to provide despite several budget hurdles.
One area in which I fear we’ve fallen behind has been in modernizing our police force. This has been particularly true when it comes to providing newer technology to our police force. There are some hard costs associated with obtaining and training on new equipment which in previous years were often put off due to budget restrictions. Recently both the Mayor and the Council have made requests to see our city proactively plan to budget wisely so that we can afford to begin modernizing our force.
Examples of this include positioning an ATV on the Provo River Trail to assist in rapid response to needs there, budgeting to finally replace some fairly old police vehicles, obtaining a K9 unit, and gradually moving towards better cameras and other technology on police vehicles.
Taxpayers will be pleased to know that the obtaining of this equipment has been highly scrutinized at every level. I have a 49 page report on my lap which compares the benefits which the public will see against the total cost of obtaining a K9 unit. Some interesting tidbits include:
- The car for the K9 costs almost $48,000. The dog itself is only $10,000.
- The dog’s bullet proof vest costs $2,000.
- The training and hiring of the handlers is the most expensive cost at $60,000 each.
Perhaps I’m the only one who wondered this, but the dogs themselves do not sleep at the station. They live with their handlers and train for at least 4 hours a week.
There are multiple benefits to having a K9 unit with our police force – one of the most significant being their ability to assist officers in better locating criminals and reducing the number who avoid capture. I look forward to the city having this important asset and appreciate the care which our department has given to justifying this use of taxpayer dollars.