City Council members voiced support for the purchase of a new SWAT vehicle for the Jamestown Police Department.
Council heard a presentation by Police Chief Tim Jackson as well as members of the SWAT team about the need for vehicle. The cost would be $247,516 and be funded using American Rescue Plan monies.
Jackson said since 2016, the SWAT team has been deployed 199 times.
He said the vehicle is multi-purpose, “It can be used for rescue, search and rescue; evacuating people, and a trauma center, so it has multiple uses. It’s not just for SWAT raids.”
Council member at large and retired Jamestown Police officer, Jeff Russell, addressed concerns about the appearance of the bearcat, “This vehicle, if you look at it, if you see photographs of it, it looks somewhat like a Brinks truck. No one seems to be afraid of a Brinks truck when it’s going down the road and it’s collecting cash at various locations. We need to get over the appearance that this is scary looking and that it’s out hunting people or it’s too militaristic looking. This isn’t only to protect the men and women of the Jamestown Police Department, but it’s also to protect citizens.”
Council member Bill Reynolds, who also is retired from the Police Department, voiced his support for the resolution as well.
Chief Jackson estimated that if the purchase is approved it will take one year for delivery. He said Erie County and then State Police in Batavia have the next closest available SWAT vehicles in New York State.
In other business, Council Finance Chair Kim Ecklund requested input from the Information Technology Director on the proposed purchase of new accounting and payroll software. $91,683 in American Rescue Plan funds would be used for the purchase with the annual maintenance cost of $19,405 being part of the regular budget. Ecklund said her concern is that the software operates in the cloud and wants to know what security issues there may be.