The Covington Police Department will soon begin using a federal surplus to its advantage.
Following a presentation given by Cpl. William Nelson Tuesday afternoon, city officials gave approval to the department to enter into an agreement that will provide the department with access to a wide range of things it can use.
"They have everything from paper clips to airplanes," Nelson said. "It's just up to us to find it, procure it and tell them we want it."
For an annual $600 fee, the department will be able to use items not currently in use by the federal government, including copy machines, computers, weapons, vehicles, furniture and nearly anything else they can find.
Nelson said the program would allow the department to borrow items on a loan-to-lease basis.
"We would have to pick them up, or have them shipped, and maintain them," he said. "But it still saves money from what it'd cost retail or wholesale."
Especially important, he suggested, would be the department's access to weapons, though the city would have to pay to modify them for use.
"If we decide to go with rifles, the modifications are about $100 ... you're looking at upwards of $1,200 if we bought them," he said. "This would be a huge benefit to our department."
Crime stats reported
Also at the public safety committee meeting Tuesday, Lewis reported crime statistics for 2013.
Last year, Covington police answered an estimated 32,884 dispatched calls, issued 1,372 citations and made an estimated 1,000 arrests.
Lewis said there were 288 burglary arrests, 210 assaults, 195 domestics, 156 drug arrests, 69 vehicle thefts, 45 cases of fraud, 93 forgeries, 21 robberies, five embezzlement arrests and one arrest for prostitution.
There were no homicides in Covington in 2013.
Lewis said there was an estimated 30,300 dispatched calls in 2012, meaning the city's call volume increased by 2,500 calls.
Changes in days off
Sergeants with the department will see new days off after city leaders approved Chief Lewis's request to change them.
"WHen you have people who haven't had supervisory training in the position to make decisions that could be a liability to the city, to me it just makes good business sense to have supervisors, the sergeants, on during our busy times," Lewis said.
Sergeants will now enter into a regular rotation like other patrol officers. Formerly, they were off on weekends.