During its meeting on Tuesday, the Cortez City Council approved two actions that could help the Police Department upgrade its aging communications technology.
The council voted to approve an application for a Department of Local Affairs grant that would allow police to update some of its radio equipment for the first time in more than 20 years.
It also approved a memorandum of understanding between the city and state that will allow police to use some Colorado State Patrol-owned radio equipment in the old Montezuma County Justice Building. Both votes were unanimous.
Police communication supervisor Lori Johnson presented the proposed resolutions to the council in the absence of Chief Roy Lane, who was absent Tuesday. She said three of the department’s four radio consoles have been in place since 1996, and 2018 is the last year replacement parts will be manufactured for them.
“Right now, we’re buying the replacement parts off of eBay,” she said. “It has come time to replace those radios.”
The police department operates the dispatch center for all emergency services in Montezuma County using its radio equipment.
The DOLA grant the department is seeking would provide $750,000 for new radios.
Johnson also asked the council to approve a memorandum of understanding between Cortez and the state of Colorado. Colorado State Patrol has stored radio equipment and a microwave link on the roof and in the basement of the Montezuma County Justice Building on 601 N. Mildred Road since 1974. Under the MOU, the state would move the equipment to the tower at police headquarters. The state would still own all the equipment, but it would pay for its installation and maintenance, while Cortez would continue to provide all its electricity and backup power.
Children’s Kiva Montessori School will move into the Justice Building in August.
In a workshop before the regular meeting, Johnson said she expected the move to begin in October. She didn’t give a definitive date for when the city would receive the DOLA grant.
Council members were vocally supportive of both measures.
“I can’t think of something more important than communication between your office and the public,” Councilman Ty Keel told Johnson.
In another decision related to crime and punishment, the council voted Tuesday to approve a contract with Municipal Judge James Shaner, setting his salary at $18,595 per year, plus $80 per hour for jury trials and other extra court dates. The city previously didn’t have a contract with the judge, who works as a part-time subcontractor for several towns in Montezuma County.
Police Lt. Andy Brock, who also attended the meeting, said the contract would make it easier for police to schedule court dates for arrestees by giving Shaner the ability to hold court more than once a week if necessary.