Chicopee City Council approves new police equipment, expansion of sergeants – Reminder Publications

August 10, 2022 by No Comments

CHICOPEE – Under the leadership of newly-appointed Police Chief Patrick Major, the Chicopee Police Department continues to set a path towards growth after operating throughout the coronavirus pandemic without a full complement of officers. The City Council approved orders funding new bullet proof vests, polices cruisers and an increase to the department’s sergeant count during their Aug. 2 meeting.

Mayor John Vieau introduced the items during his mayor’s orders. Vieau described the $34,800 request for 29 new bullet proof vests as a need with several vests set to expire after a five-year window of use.

“They’ll be expiring. They have a five-year life. We want to make sure our police officers have the equipment not only to keep themselves safe, but to protect us,” said Vieau.

Major said the entire appropriation cost will be covered by reimbursements from the federal and state government.

Vieau then highlighted the $324,507 appropriation for five police cruisers and one low-profile vehicle from the city’s Capital Budgeting Fund. The mayor stressed that the vehicles were “urgent needs” for the department.

“It’s been very difficult to get vehicles and we’re trying to maintain our vehicles, so these are the urgent needs. What we would like to do is purchase our vehicles for our police officers,” said Vieau.

Ward 4 City Councilor George Balakier inquired about the timeline it would take to implement the vehicles due to ongoing delays surrounding car parts. Major explained that the vehicles are already earmarked, which will significantly shorten the wait time.

“It’s just a matter of getting the funding appropriated…It’s not like we have to order them and wait six to seven months, they’ll be available as soon as we can get out there and get them equipped…We are very fortunate we were able to earmark these in advance,” said Major. The police chief also revealed that the replaced vehicles will be traded in to make up some of the appropriation costs.

City Council President Frank Laflamme supported the immediate funding of the order due to the Police Department’s needs. Laflamme said there are several active police vehicles that are currently awaiting parts.

“I am glad that we’re ordering these cruisers now…We need some extra vehicles,” said Laflamme.

Additionally, Vieau addressed an amendment of Code Section 77-1A that increases the Police Department’s sergeants from 17 to 19. Major said he is requesting a review of the department’s supervisory structure after analyzing the department’s needs.

One of the additional sergeants will oversee the IT division of the department. Major explained that the change will allow Sergeant Matt Post to return to his specialization in technology after previously aiding in patrols when the department experienced staffing shortages.

“We’re fortunate to have Matt on our department. He’s an extremely smart individual and he’s been our go-to IT guy for quite a while…I’d like to have the extra spot to get Matt back in there,” said Major, who said the IT sergeant will oversee the department’s software and equipment.

The other sergeant will lead the upcoming C3 substation opening in Willimansett, which Major expects to be fully staffed after integrating several new graduates from the Police Academy. During a June interview with Reminder Publishing, Major said he expects the C3 station to open approximately a year from now.

Major also reflected on the “positive” performance of the Chicopee Center C3 …….



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