Funding for a permanent chain-of-command and for additional clerical help were the issues Police Chief John Yannie emphasized at the Common Council's Monday night budget review session.
Yannie suggested adding $7,000 to the budget to fund two captains and a sergeant. He now has five lieutenants, with one retirement coming, and said he wants to eliminate "acting" supervisory personnel.
He also said the additional clerical personnel would free "sworn officers to be on the street."
"The infantry is trained to fight, not write letters," the chief explained.
Yannie said the department has been notified by the City Court that dispositions of cases have not been put into the computer system quickly enough, creating sentencing problems for City Judge Walter Drag. Yannie said the delay also hampers police when they are asked for background checks.
Yannie would like a clerk for 20 hours per week to input court data, but would settle for 10 hours per week.
First Ward Councilman Chet Kozlowski said he is looking for places where funds can be shifted for the chief's requests.
The Council will also look into leasing police cars instead of purchasing them. Yannie said he would get the lease prices for the 1997 cars and report back to the Council. He said he was concerned about maintenance costs on three- and four-year-old cars.
"They have 60,000 to 70,000 'taxicab' miles on them," he said. "They have to be able to answer to any emergency."
On other department-related matters, the chief said:
The city regards any person who is incarcerated in the Chautauqua County Jail as the responsibility of the county. When a person needs to be transported to Dunkirk for a court appearance, lunch is the responsibility of the county. For at least a week, he said, the prisoners have been having a bag lunch brought from Mayville.
The department has been raising funds for work with youth. Local organizations have paid for the McGruff Crime Dog costume and other activities, but he expects some public expenditures during the Crime Prevention Month of October.
The Department of Public Works, including the water and waste water treatment divisions, accounts for $8,475,666 or 49 percent of Mayor Margaret Wuerstle's $17,311,125 proposed budget.
The Council reviewed the proposed spending plan with Randy Woodbury, director of public works; Richard Richman, head of the parks division; Richard Jakubczyk, head of the water distribution division; and John Gaasch, chief wastewater treatment plant operator.
The review will continue at 6:30 p.m. today with the law, personnel, development and fire departments and the fiscal affairs, building inspector's and city clerk's offices.