Soon after Orchard Lake Police Chief Joe George took over responsibilities as the city’s top cop, he began compiling a punch list of changes needed to upgrade and/or secure the police department’s facilities.
“I view my responsibility as assessing the needs of the department and bringing them to council — it’s up to them to act,” George said.
His first priority is to secure the Police Department space inside the City Hall by installing a roll gate at the front counter and constructing doors to block access to that side of the building. George said the state rated the Orchard Lake Police Department’s current configuration as unsatisfactory for security reasons, and locked barriers are needed.
“It’s a safety measure for police as well as the property,” George said. “The doors would secure us from city offices as recommended through the LEIN (Michigan Law Enforcement Information Network) system. We have sensitive information and don’t want any access to it.”
George’s second highest priority would be to purchase a video system with cameras at the front counter, the interview room, and the interrogation room to protect officers, suspects, and the city from liability.
“For minor offenses and such, officers bring suspects into the police department and they could very well be alone. This is a means of checks and balances to mitigate false allegations,” George said.
Moreover, George is requesting authority to purchase seven Tasers, one for each officer, in addition to the three now on hand.
“Our Tasers are old and malfunctioning,” George said.
He will be researching whether any grants are available for Taser purchases. Grant funds may be available for up to 50 percent of the purchase costs.
Lastly, George would like to replace antiquated in-car video systems in all the department’s patrol vehicles. He estimates the upgrade would cost $7,000 per unit.
The Orchard Lake City Council authorized the purchase of a new computer server on May 16. The purchase is capped at $8,000 for acquisition and installation.
“The server is not just for the police department, but for the whole area,” said Mayor Bruce McIntyre.
The council also permitted George to solicit bids on the other items and bring each quote back to the city’s governing body for approval, one at a time.
“We don’t want to approve everything as a package,” McIntyre said. “We’re not ready ready to do that. We want to examine each individually and prioritize them.”