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New IPD chief has eye on improving morale

Now at the helm of the Ironton Police Department, recently appointed police chief Bill Garland has set his sights on improving some of the department’s technology and improving the patrolling in the city.

Tuesday, July 03, 2001

Now at the helm of the Ironton Police Department, recently appointed police chief Bill Garland has set his sights on improving some of the department’s technology and improving the patrolling in the city.

Garland said because of the department’s limited budget he is trying to get officers interested in applying for grants to pay for technology upgrades. He said he knows the city is financially strapped and grant money may prove to be a way to improve and maintain the department’s equipment.

One system Garland would like to see improved is the way arrest records are filed. A steel file cabinet jammed full with index cards is the current way officers keep arrest records.

"Our filing is totally in the dark ages," the chief said, adding he would like to find grant money to purchase a computerized record-keeping system so officers could have the information they need in seconds instead of the amount of time it takes to go through the card index. "Grants are out there…there are grants available for equipment upgrades."

Garland said he is strictly looking for grants to improve and maintain the equipment the city currently has. He added he is also looking for donations from city residents and businesses to provide funding for the department.

He cited examples where businesses have chipped in to provide funding for equipment in villages throughout the county. He said several departments have received money from insurance companies and other businesses to purchase breathalyzers and other tools officers can use in the field.

Beefing up patrolling is another priority for the chief. He said he is currently working on a contract with the Metropolitan Housing Authority -which maintains housing projects in the city – to provide patrolling in those areas. He said if the contract is approved, the housing authority will provide money to pay for overtime wages for officers patrolling the housing authority’s property.

He said improving the officer’s morale is also important. Currently, Garland said minor adjustments are being made to the department to allow more room for the officers to work. He said with the limited budget, he has to make little changes to help keep the officers morale high. "We have a good crew and they’re willing to work," Garland said.

The new chief said the changes he has targeted will help accomplish his main goal, providing protection to the city’s residents.

"Our job," Garland said, "is to protect and serve the public."

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