With the help of grants and the one-half cent sales tax Thayer voters approved last year, the Thayer Police Department has been making some changes that will result in added safety for officers and more efficiency in serving the residents of Thayer.
They recently added two 2010 Chevrolet Tahoes to their fleet, one 4-wheel drive and one 2-wheel drive. Plans call for the remaining vehicles to be rotated out over time and replaced with additional Tahoes.
"We've found the Tahoe to be a great vehicle for the police department," Sheriff David Bailey said. "They give us more room and are easier for us to get to places a car can't."
Bailey said one of the main areas he has focused on this past year has been upgrading and training. Officers have been receiving more training and certification on recognizing child abuse, the use of tasers self-defense tactics and standard field soberity testing.
New tasers were purchased using a 75 percent grant and 25 percent of the sales tax money the department began collecting in January. All officers have received training with the weapon and Lt. Josh McDaniel is now a certified instructor.
New spike strips have also been purchased through a 75-25 percent grant. "Although, I hope we never need to use them," Bailey said, "this is the type of equipment we need to do our jobs effectively and safely."
Bailey said the computer system was updated last year and has improved efficiency.
Updates to the jail have been made which include a heating system, painting, clean up and general maintenance. A new surveillance camera for the jail has been ordered and should be ready to be installed soon.
New radios have been installed in all officer's vehicles and a new radar system should arrive within the week.
Bids are now being sought for eight new handheld portable radios for the officers. The radios will be purchased through a Homeland Security grant and should be at the department in March or April.
Bailey said he hopes the next purchase will be weapons for all of the officers. "Right now," he said, "they have to provide their own. We need to purchase their weapons so each officer will have the same kind. We also need to purchase leathers for the officers. That is something else they have to provide."
Bailey said he was proud they've been able to make the needed improvements. "We've made them with grants and the half-cent sales tax the voters approved. None of this would have been possible without the voters help," he said.
Besides Chief Bailey, the community is served by Asst. Chief Michael Bunting, Lt. Josh McDaniel, Sgt. Terry Bounds, Officer James Martin, Officer Kevin Bettis, Officer Jason Jennings, Reserve Officer Norman Todd and Dispatchers Jason Romine, David Masterson, Marci Fuller and Jeremy Turner.