will soon have a tech-oriented overseer charged with not only maintaining the automatic traffic enforcement devices, but also overseeing the city police department's gadget collection.
Last night, the Hyattsville City Council approved the hiring of one new sergeant level position who would be in charge of the speed cameras and the maintenance and acquisition of new law enforcement technology.
It followed a meeting two weeks ago which saw the city council approve the locations for the speed cameras In memos to the city council, Hyattsville Police Chief Doug Holland pushed for a single-officer approach.
City council members like Tim Hunt (Ward 3) expressed concerns that the staffing needs of the speed camera program, which includes equipment calibration and trips to court, could overwhelm a single officer in charge of the operation of the speed cameras as well as the other police tech duties.
In response, Holland returned with alternative staffing proposals which called for the hiring of two employees to manage, separately, the speed cameras and the department's tech programs.
In the end, the city council unanimously voted to go with a single officer approach.
"We should give the department head a chance to show that they can do it," said Councilor Paula Perry (Ward 4) during debate on the measure. "That's more than we give to a lot of other departments, who usually come before us and ask us for things and then we ignore them."
The measure came with a caveat. Mayor Marc Tartaro added an amendment directing the eventual police tech guru to make his first priority the installation of GPS devices in police cruisers. Tartaro said the devices could enhance officer security by giving dispatchers the exact locations of officers on patrol. He also added that the devices could be used to better manage the use of police department vehicles.