PROSPERITY — Prosperity Police Chief David Beddingfield discussed with Town Council the police department’s budget during the budget workshop Tuesday .
In the Town of Prosperity’s current budget, the police department had an anticipated $78,000 in court fines, but did not meet that projected number, only bringing in $24,000 total.
“The point in traffic fines isn’t to make money. It’s to alter behavior and to detour unsafe behavior. The reason that there are speed limits is because it has been deemed unsafe,” said Beddingfield. “That’s the whole goal of safety traffic enforcement is to stop unsafe behavior and detour possible unsafe behavior.”
Court fines are not limited to only speeding tickets. These fines can come from seizing drugs, weapons, narcotics or anything that can bring money in.
“Since we’ve been at full staffing with the Police Department, you’ll see that the court fines have gone up in contrast to when I was on leave and when we were down to just one officer,” Beddingfield said.
Beddingfield said these numbers will fluctuate with personnel and that from the time frame of January until now, there was substantial growth in the number of tickets given.
Council estimated the department would total about $4,000 in court fines a month, giving an estimated $49,000 a year, which would still fall below the budget of $78,000.
“When we do the budget, we need to know what number we need to put in there, because that’s what effects the expense on the Police Department,” said Mayor Derek Underwood.
Discussion was also brought to Council’s attention about the purchase of new police cars and police radios.
“Our police cars need some updating. There a bit older and have higher mileage. At some point, it’s not worth the money spending on repairs based off the value of the car. Right now, we’re looking at creating a sustainment plan for the vehicles, which would essentially be some form of upgrade every year outside the normal day-to-day repairs,” said Beddingfield.
The Prosperity Police Department is looking to purchase new cars this year and Beddingfield will be meeting with Councilman Chad Hawkins to determine where they are at regarding funding for these vehicles.
Beddingfield said that it is yet to be determined how many cars the department will look into purchasing.
“Our funding comes from Council so I pretty much advise them about what our current situation is and then they have to make a decision as to whether or not they are going to provide funding for our vehicles or tell us to press forward with what we have and pay for the repairs as needed,” said Beddingfield.
Beddingfield also addressed the department’s plans on purchasing new police radios that will better communication among different agencies.
“This will increase the ability to communicate with law enforcement and first responders, but it will also put them on a different frequency. Currently, the way they operate is, you can get a scanner and pretty much listen to everything that is being said,” said Beddingfield.
Beddingfield gave a tentative time frame of July regarding police radios.
Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.