Jamestown City Council has approved hiring new three police officers and four firefighters.
The new positions will be funded with $3.2 million in American Rescue Plan funds.
Council President Tony Dolce said it represents a large chunk of the funding the city received, “But given the situation in the city right now, given the crisis in EMS, given, obviously, the rise in gun violence, to add three new officers, two of which will be specifically put on gun violence detail. One will be a quality of life officer, who will deal with some of the other issues that the other officers don’t have time to deal with the fireworks and the loud motor vehicles and some of the other neighborhood issues.”
Dolce said the second ambulance that will be manned by the new firefighter positions still needs to be purchased. He said the cost to the city once the ARP funds runs out by the end of 2026 is between $800 to $900,000 a year, “In the meantime, we’re going to have to figure out in four years do we get rid of those positions through attrition, do we continue to fund them after four years? Again, depending on who the mayor and the council is at that time, those are decisions they will have to make. I do know, at least with the EMS, there will be some revenue. That could be as much as two, three, $400,000 per year.”
Mayor Eddie Sundquist said the approval of these hires is just one step in dealing with gun violence in the city. He said there are other funding opportunities from the state and federal government that should help as well, “As well as with this Gun Violence Unit, we’ve been working directly with the FBI, our state partners, the U.S. District Attorney’s office, and others on a program to have here in Jamestown to help get guns off the street. So we’re working through that. It’s also included with the Sheriff’s Office and others to try to work on a few other things. More to follow on that.”
The city plans to hire the three Police Officers in June with the Firefighters brought on board in August.
After voting down the contract in April, Council unanimously approved a $500,000 contract with the Jamestown Local Development Corporation. That will go toward administering American Rescue Plan funds for Department of Development programming.
Following regular business on the agenda, Council member Andrew Faulkner requested a resolution to send Captain Bob Samuelson to the FBI Academy in Virginia from July 11 through September 15 be brought to the floor for a vote.
He referenced six dates from the first two weeks of May where illegal guns had been removed from the streets by Jamestown Police officers, “Nobody can deny that right now is a time of increased gun violence and gun crime. Tonight, one of our resolutions that passed was to add three police officers to the force in order to combat gun crime and quality of life issues. This shows that the Jamestown Police Department needs full staffing and then some in order to combat our current issues.”
Following Faulkner’s request, Council unanimously voted no, although Council President Dolce said there was confusion over whether council was voting down bringing the resolution to the floor or voting down the resolution to send Captain Samuelson to the training, “It was put on there originally by the Public Safety Committee. There were some concerns that were mentioned by Councilwoman Ecklund as well as Councilman Russell and Councilman Faulkner. It was not passed through Finance, so we had it pulled from the agenda. So I was under the impression that they wanted to put it back up, but I guess they just wanted to vote on it so that’s all I can say. That’s all I know. There were concerns about sending someone at this particular time because of gun violence and having an administrator go and so forth.”
City Council also recognized Eagle Scout Gary Moffat, who built and repaired city park benches using wood that came from the Third Street Cathedral Oak trees.