Councilmembers approve technology updates for police

Councilmembers approve construction of new residential area, contract extension for public transportation

Police+Chief+Gary+Jenkins+said+the+department%27s+five-year+agreement+with+Axon+Enterprise+will+expire+soon.+The+agreement+supplies+the+department+with+body-worn+cameras%2C+in-car+cameras+and+other+technology+services.+

BONNIE JAMES | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

Police Chief Gary Jenkins said the department's five-year agreement with Axon Enterprise will expire soon. The agreement supplies the department with body-worn cameras, in-car cameras and other technology services.

SYDNEY BROWN, Evergreen reporter

Editor’s Note: Coverage from the Aug. 11 meeting is included at the bottom of the article. 

Pullman City Council approved an agreement with Axon Enterprise to provide and update body-worn cameras, in-car cameras and other technology services for the Pullman Police Department during its meeting Tuesday night.

Police Chief Gary Jenkins said the five-year agreement with the technology company Axon will expire soon, and the city will save $17,000 by renewing before 2021. 

The agreement includes digital evidence storage, software licensing, new Tasers and Taser training, camera replacements every two years, an auto redaction system to expedite public records, and a video management system, he said.

“Technology has increased significantly over the past few years,” Jenkins said.

Axon will also become the sole provider for this type of technology for the department. Jenkins said Axon consistently provides high-quality equipment. 

Fireworks report

Jenkins said police officers documented the second-lowest number of firework offenses in Pullman since the city adopted the firework ordinance, with 15 calls. Most of these occurred around July 4. 

Fire Chief Mike Heston said the Pullman Fire Department recorded few offenses around July 4. The department extinguished two small fires and one potentially large fire, saving the city nearly $2 million in property damage, he said. 

Annual fire report

Heston presented the 2019 annual update from the fire department. Most calls were EMS-related and occurred on WSU’s campus, with most of the calls happening in May 2019 because of flooding. 

The department also allocated more funds toward training and increased staffing, both of which helped firefighters respond more quickly to calls, Heston said. 

“If there’s an issue, we try to identify it pretty quick,” Heston said. 

Councilmember Nathan Weller said he would like to consider more funding for public safety, especially because most safety and fire-related emergency calls happen on campus.  

Previous council meeting  

Pullman’s City Council unanimously approved an extension of a contract with Whitman County that leaves the city financially responsible for the prosecution, sentencing and incarceration of adults who commit misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors. The resolution will go into effect Jan. 1, 2021 to Dec. 31. 

The city will pay the county $450,000 for this period in order to receive county prosecution services, which includes defense, sentencing and adjudication. Pullman must also pay for medical costs for prisoners arrested by the city for city misdemeanors. 

“For example, if a defendant who is charged with a DUI that was referred by the City is held in jail pending the outcome of their case, the City will be responsible for the cost of medical care up until the point the defendant is sentenced,” according to the resolution. 

Budget and funding

Councilmembers unanimously approved immediate ongoing spending recommendations for CARES Act funding, which was presented by Mike Urban, director of finance and administrative services. 

“We do want to make sure we utilize all of it,” Urban said. 

These expenditures will account for 65 percent of the total grant received by the city, so the city can use the rest later in October based on COVID-19 related costs. 

About $300,000 will cover payroll services for city employees affected by COVID-19, and about $360,000 will cover equipment costs for the city, according to the report. The city will also spend about $150,000 on facilities. Another $80,000 will cover technology expenses.

Construction

The council approved the construction of 12 single-family homes and other facilities on a 1.8-acre plot of land near NW Terre View Dr and NW Canyon View Dr. The project would add parking spaces, a kiosk and a community building, according to the memorandum. 

“The concept is known as a pocket neighborhood or a neighborhood within a neighborhood,” said Jennifer Hackman, Pullman’s Economic Development Manager. 

This residential area will be the first of its kind to be constructed in Pullman, Hackman said. The developer plans to start construction by this fall and complete it in spring 2021. 

The city approved a ground lease for Corporate Pointe Developers, LLC to add a monument sign on the right-of-way of SE Harvest Drive. The annual fee will cost $56.75, as decided by the council in 2014. 

Public transportation

The city will apply for a Washington State Department of Transportation grant for the Terre View Drive Resurfacing 2021 project, which would fund a 2-inch grind on Terre View Drive from E. Main Street to Airport Road if approved. The grant would cover 85 percent of the project’s expenses.

The city will also apply for a WSDOT grant to possibly fund a round-about on NE Terre View Drive and N. Fairway Drive. 

Councilmembers approved the extension of the public transportation contract between WSU and the city. The contract will now stay valid until November due to COVID-19 related changes in the public transportation system, according to the report.