Jefferson County town considers reducing number of phones issued to police officers

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on May 29, 2014 at 6:41 PM

Updated Thursday, May 29 at 7:01 PM

(KMOV.com) – Officials in Pevely are considering a proposal that would cut down on the number of cellphones used by its police officers.

If the Pevely Board of Alderman approves the proposal, the police department would only have five phones that would be used by on-duty officers. Currently, 13 officers are on the force. It is unclear if the chief or other high ranking officers would have a phone.

Alderman David Bewig, who supports the idea, said it will save the city $5,7000 per year.

“They put me in office to cut costs,” Bewig said. “That’s the whole ball of wax, save the city money.”

Critics contend the move would put public safety at risk.

“If we have a major disaster and they only have five cell phones but 13 police officers, what are the rest of them going to do it's a concern, it's a liability concern for me," said former Alderman Don Menkhus.

Another critic said the police chief should be the one deciding how many phones the department needs.

“Let the chief decide, let the chief decide where to make those cuts, I think that is more appropriate and you know he is the one who is in the position to do that, to keep the department running smoothly for the people of the city of Pevely," said concerned citizen Erin Kasten.

Many small police departments in the St. Louis area do not issue cellphones and rely officers to use their own personal phone.

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