Cops ask $7,160 for volunteer program

Money bolsters depleted force     

The Mammoth Lakes Police Department this past week asked for $7,160 to start its volunteer program.

The request came to the Town Council on Wednesday, June 19—the same night the council voted on the 2013-14 fiscal year budget.

According to Police Chief Dan Watson, most of the money in the first year, $4,000, would go toward repainting a black and white Ford Ranger truck all white, changing the light bar and installing new graphics.

About $1,000 would go toward buying uniforms, consisting of an embroidered polo shirt, cap and safety vest.

An additional $2,160 would go toward overtime for instructors to conduct 24 hours of training.

Watson said future years would not include the $4,000 cost for repurposing the vehicle, thereby reducing the annual cost to $3,160.

He said the amount did not include the compensation for the Volunteer Coordinator, former sworn officer Karen Smart, who, as a reserve officer, is to receive $25 an hour.

If she were to work the estimated 16 hours a month, the costs to manage the volunteer program would be $4,800 a year.

As a result of a series of fiscal challenges because of the settlement of the MLLA litigation, the police department has experienced a 57 percent reduction in sworn strength and a 54 percent reduction in total strength (sworn and civilian) since 2008.

The 2013-14 budget has $10,000 set aside for volunteer programs, and $24,000 for the reserve program.

Therefore, according to the town staff, sufficient funds have been budgeted for the Police Volunteer Program.