We’re LIVE! at Danville’s Municipal Building for tonight’s set of City Council meetings.
We’re starting with the 5:30 special session about violent crime. Police Chief talks about the history to start off. Broadfoot clearly says there are gangs in the city with an age range from 14-25 years old.
He talks about a proposal to add fixed video monitoring to major intersections and then to high-risk neighborhoods. He acknowledged the civil liberties concerns of that idea. Broadfoot also semi-introduces the new crime data analyst. His job is currently funded by a grant, and Broadfoot says they’ll be looking for city funding once the grant runs out. They’ll also ask for a property & evidence technician, a false alarm reduction program and additional patrol vehicles.
City Manager Ken Larking now takes the podium for civilian ways to help. That includes adding to the rental inspection districts, a graffiti abatement program to remove graffiti at no cost to the owner and additional Parks & Recreation programs for at-risk children and youth.
All of the regional TV stations are including WFXR, who wouldn’t normally know where Danville is. Heh. Some new WSET reporter shows up around 5:40 PM.
Lee Vogler suggests that minor incidents could be handled by non-sworn personnel. Broadfoot says that would be be hard for the public to support because people expect police officers to respond.
There’s strong support for the proposal to give incentives to police officers to live in high-risk areas.
Broadfoot points out that shots fired calls are frequent. We’re running out of time for this meeting, and the business session is coming up at 7 PM.
Larry Campbell asks if the increased police enforcement will cause problems like he talked about during Round 1 of the Street Crimes Unit. John Gilstrap gives the 10 minute warning.
Sherman Saunders asks about the transparency of crime reporting. Broadfoot says every crime is handled by an officer & reported, and some other departments use internet-based reporting of minor crimes so they don’t appear in statistics.
The police department has 131 officers and the authorized number is 135. James Buckner floats upping that number to 150, and Broadfoot says they can do the job at 135 (or close to that).
We move to the business meeting. Lee Vogler does the prayer and leads the Pledge of Allegiance. Dr. Frank Vickers from the Southside Community Services Board hoes over their annual report and what they do.
Sheila Baynes is first in the public comment section and she talks about studies on how to deal with at-risk youth. Felicia Gordon is next, and she suggests pilot programs to work on violent crime in the communities. I’ve criticized her before, but she’s doing well tonight. Tony Henderson is next and urges investment in the youth. Jessica Griffith takes the podium and talks about a joint police/council/citizen meeting.
We move to the old business, appointments and new business. In a strange situation, Fred Shanks represents a client in a rezoning case, then goes back up to abstain due to the conflict of interest. Nick Sapounakes is asking for a Special Use Permit to put a “short term vehicle storage” across from the airport.