Maplewood City Council on Tuesday in a meeting scheduled to work on the city budget ended up discussing how to use its Proposition P funds — funds meant for public safety.
About 14 members of Maplewood Community Builders, a group pushing the city to use the funds for ‘community policing’ were there. The meeting was a work session so public comments weren’t permitted.
Maplewood will receive $400,000 from Prop P, and is planning — in the draft budget — to use $214,000 of that for items such as data terminals for patrol cars (10), portable radios (2), Sig Sauer duty pistols (2), vehicles (3) and body cameras (25).
The department also plans to hire two new officers with the funds. Council member Jennifer Schmidt asked Chief of Police Steve Kruse if there really was a need. “We’re busy, very busy,” Kruse said. “When someone calls the police they expect a prompt reply.”
He said it’s impossible to know when the demand might come, citing a 4 a.m. Christmas morning break-in at Brentwood Volvo.
Schmidt asked if it would be worthwhile to pay someone to analyze the need, and Kruse said he has been an officer for 40 years, including chief at Florissant before Maplewood, and he doesn’t need an analysis. He said calls for service are up and accidents are up.
City manager Marty Corcoran said if the officers were polled they would say the greatest need is more manpower. Mayor Bary Greenberg said more traffic enforcement is needed.
Training and mediation were talked about as possibilities, and several council members said a citizen advisory panel would be a good idea.
Greenberg said a panel would need to be integrated to coordinate with the police department to be the most useful.
The council will make the first vote on the budget at its July 24 meeting, where there will be a public hearing. The final vote will take place in the following meeting, in August.