As the Board of Finance looks to reduce the total increase in the 2013-14 proposed budget, the Police Department's requests were discussed at length at the Tuesday, April 2, meeting.

The police requested five new cars for the fleet, as well as a new system that would increase the efficiency of inputting police reports. The total cost of the five cars is $203,000; each marked patrol car is $52,000, the canine unit SUV is $51,000, and each unmarked vehicle is $34,000.

"We support technology that makes any department more efficient," said board member Joe Duwan, who worked on the proposed budget with member Jaime McLaughlin and members of the department.

VisionAIR, the requested technology, would be a $51,000 investment, but would allow officers to spend less time doing paperwork and more time doing police work, Duwan said. Officers would be able to input data from their patrol cars.

"We're not going to be replacing a full-time person," McLaughlin said. "We're making the group that's there more efficient."

Additionally, the Board of Finance is looking to cut one of the requested unmarked cars to save $34,000.

The police requested two marked patrol cars, one SUV for the canine patrol and two unmarked cars for the detective division.

As of now, the fleet has 12 patrol cars, one of which is for the student research officer that stays at the school during the day. Eight of the 12 patrol cars are 2012 models or newer, according to member Martha Banks.

The amount of use of the cars isn't measured by the miles driven, but by the number of hours the engine is running. Patrol cars are turned over every three years.

"I believe cars last more than three years," Banks said.

McLaughlin wondered if the town was getting the most of the cars under warranty and asked that a study be conducted outside of budget-setting season, to which First Selectman Jayme Stevenson agreed.

"I, too, want to be data-driven in budget decisions for vehicles," said Stevenson, who was in attendance.

The Board of Finance was scheduled to meet with the Board of Education to discuss its budget requests on Thursday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m.;203-972-4407;@Meg_DarienNews

More Information

Fact box