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Police requests surprise Athens Council

By Bayne Hughes 340-2432

ATHENS — Athens City Council members balked at Police Chief Wayne Harper's request for new computers and technology Monday, saying he surprised them with the additional expenses for the police station.

"I thought we had everything we needed," Councilman Johnny Crutcher said.

Harper wants to spend $13,000 on 10 desktop computers, a $5,500 computerized mug-shot camera and three $2,779 projectors. He said that with the additional office space, six supervisors need computers.

He also wants to put one in the interview room and in the booking room for the police officers.

The council agreed to his request to buy a floor buffing machine and a commercial vacuum cleaner but is letting the Maintenance Department purchase the items. Harper also can buy a $2,702 postage machine and a $625 date/time stamp.

New Councilwoman Milly Caudle, sworn in before the meeting to replace Henry White, said the city has only $19,077 in reserves and all of the chief's requests totaled $32,632.

"I just don't where we're going to get the money," Caudle said.

Councilman Ronnie Marks questioned spending $5,500 on a computerized mug-shot camera and thought a $200 or $300 digital camera would do the job.

Instead of rejecting the chief's requests outright, the council tabled the computers, camera and projectors.

It asked Harper to better justify his requests and look at ways to cut the amount of his requests.

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