BATAVIA — Concerned about the realities of an active shooter situation, City Police Chief Sean Heubusch is seeking to buy five more AR-15 rifles for his department.
In a memorandum to City Manager Rachael Tabelski, Heubusch said the purchase would ensure each member has access to one during an active shooter incident.
He noted the department currently deploys an AR-15 rifle for use by patrol, but added, “We have seen a gap insomuch as the members of the Detective Bureau do not have rifles assigned to them.” “In an active shooter situation, the AR-15 is the preferred armament to address the situation,” Heubusch wrote. “It would be a hindrance in that situation for all of our members not to be able to deploy a rifle for response.”
Although notorious for being the weapon of choice by perpetrators in many mass shootings, AR-15-style rifles are also commonly used by law enforcement agencies. The weapons are lightweight, accurate and easy to use.
As it stands, the Police Department is hoping to add about $100,000 to its 2023 budget for the purchase of equipment for the department. The request would be offset by a $100,000 increase in a revenue budget line to include state aid, video lottery terminal and tribal compact money.
City Council will vote on the request when it meets at 7 p.m. Monday. The equipment purchase proposal would first be discussed at the special conference session, followed by the business meeting.
In his memorandum, Heubusch requested the increase partly so department personnel can switch from using the Glock 22 40-caliber pistol to the Glock 17, 9-millimeter, following research by the department Firearms Unit.
“The department will need to replace each member’s issued sidearm as well as holsters,” Heubusch wrote. “Further, we are recommending purchasing a red dot sight to enhance the marksmanship of each member.”
In other matters, the police chief also recommended the purchase of four static speed display signs. The signs would be placed in designated areas in the city to encourage drivers to obey the speed limit.
The total estimated cost of these signs is $20,908.
“Currently, the department owns a single speed display sign that is mounted on a trailer and is deployed in various areas based upon complaints from the community, as well as setting it up proactively during certain times of the year,” Heubusch wrote. “Other communities across our region do have some static speed display signs posted in various areas in their communities, usually found along the more heavily traveled state touring routes, to remind motorists that may not be familiar with the posted speed limit. The signs are electronic and generally have an LED display that shows the motorist’s speed and will blink or have a warning message displaye when the limit is exceeded.”
Heubusch also proposes buying a new camera system for about $6,500, while upgrading four cameras at a cost of about $2,500 each, for a total cost of $16,500.
“Currently, the street surveillance camera systems we have in place are starting to show their age and are breaking down a significant amount of time. Therefore, the department needs to invest in replacing them and/or upgrading them to meet current specs (specifications),” he wrote. “… These cameras have been instrumental in solving cases across the spectrum for the department.
The city and the Police Benevolent Association may approve a three-year labor agreement with the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) that includes a 3% salary increase for the first year.
PBA union members approved the tentative agreement Dec. 19. Aside from the first-year salary hike, the second and third years of the pact would each include a 2.5% salary raise. There would be a one-time salary adjustment as well. The health care premiums for PBA members would go up 15-30%. A $1,500 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) payment would be added to the agreement.
The city did not say when the proposed contract would take effect. The current agreement with the PBA is set to expire March 31.
The total cost to the county from the proposed agreement is $296,220, Human Resources Director Dawn Fairbanks said.