LAPEL, IN - In what was a Police heavy Town Meeting at the Lapel Eagles on 9th St last night the Lapel Police Department finally got the green-light to hire a fifth full time officer.
The Town Council approved resolution #7 to transfer $19,000 of budget money from the Slot Machine fund to Police Salary fund. This money will be used to fund the fifth full time officer until the end of the year when the new position will be written into the budget.
Chief Barnes and Captain Daniels whittled a list of eighteen applicants for the position down to nine for physical testing, six made it to a written exam and this led to two final applicants.
After reviewing the final applicants, they chose one of the finalists that was already a member of the Lapel PD reserves who had scored within the top three on all of their previous tests.
Jon Buffington will therefore be offered the position, he lives locally and has been a reserve police officer and active member of the fire department. He will start work on August 1st.
As a reserve officer Buffington already has most of the equipment necessary as a full time officer and the Police Department has had someone come forward to pay for body armor for the new officer.
A few moments later the Lapel Police Department announced they had raised enough money from donations to cover the cost of a K9 unit and handler training. Officer Michael Porter praised the "outstanding response from the community."
As well as covering the cost to purchase the unit and training the PD had promises of donations to help cover veterinary bills by Lapel Veterinary Clinic, a citizen wished to donate food and other items for the K9, and another donation of a stab vest and ballistic vest for the K9.
One of the few expenses the department will have to cover itself will be flea, tick and heartworm prevention at an estimated $20 per month.
Plans to use Porters own dog did not work out as the dog did not have the correct drive after undergoing initial evaluation. However, a suitable dog will be found.
The Town Council voted 3 - 2 in favor of the K9 unit. Deb Wainscott and Tony Pearson voted no.
The dog will be used for drug sniffing and locating lost children both for Lapel and surrounding communities that may need mutual aid / assistance.
The Police Department is hopeful that through asset seizure on successful drug busts they will earn additional funds to cover other purchases for the department over time.
It was also announced at this meeting that President Michael Cates had agreed to purchase a used Police car from Purdue University at a cost of $4,300. He saw it as a great deal as it comes with over $7,000 worth of equipment.
Chief Barnes announced that call outs were running about the same as last year so far with the exception of a 100% increase in car crashes over the same period. He attributed this largely to the new territory the town covers but also noted that there have been around 10 "bumper car" crashes in the Main St area with people hitting stationary vehicles.