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Bardstown City Council approves change in police take-home cruiser policy

By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017 — The Bardstown City Council approved a municipal order Tuesday night that reverses a policy enacted by former Mayor John Royalty regarding the use of city-owned vehicles.

In November 2016, after questions from the council about the expense of allowing officers to take their cars out of the county, Royalty enforced the policy that was already in place at the time that prohibited city employees from taking city-owned vehicles outside the county.

Bardstown Police Assistant Chief Mark Thompson explains the need to revise the policy regarding officers who live out of the county taking home their police cars.

The resolution approved by the council changes the official take-home car policy and states the police department “recognizes the current policy limits the ability to actively recruit trained and experienced Police Officers from outside the Nelson County area.”

Bardstown Assistant Police Chief Mark Thompson confirmed that the take-home policy was a sticking point in recruiting police officers. Other small departments in the region allow officers to take their cars home outside county lines, and its hard to be competitive when other departments offer take-home cars as a perk.

Mayor Dick Heaton said the take-home policy came up as an issue in exit interviews he conducted with police officers who left the city police department earlier this year. Heaton said it was a “positive change in our policy.”

TELECOMMUNICATIONS FRANCHISE. The council gave its final approval of an ordinance that creates a non-exclusive telecommunications franchise. The ordinance will allow companies that provide larger carriers extra cellphone bandwidth in congested areas to enter into an agreement with the city to use the city’s right-of-way and utility poles for their equipment.

The non-exclusive franchise will allow Mobilitie to deploy small cellular phone and data networks — known as “microcells” — in areas of town where existing phone and data networks may be prone to heavy usage.

The Newport Beach, Calif.-based Mobilitie LLC has a Kentucky-based subsidiary called KY Backhaul.

COUNCILMAN BILL SHECKLES

A microcell is a cellular telephone system designed to cover a much smaller area than typical cell phone towers. Microcells have a range of 2 kilometers or less (about 1-1/4 miles), and are designed to add cell phone capacity in areas in which high capacity is needed.

Jeff Mills, the city’s electrical engineer, explained at an earlier council meeting that the company leases its connectivity to other cellular providers in order to add capacity they need during peak usage times.

Mobilitie’s wireless data technology is often used to add wireless capacity to specific venues and events, including indoor sports areas, outdoor stadiums and even Louisville’s Churchill Downs.

PAWNBROKERS. The city’s pawn shops will now be required to have video recordings of all transactions.

The ordinance also requires pawn shops to provide the police department with a record of its transactions by 11 a.m. the following day.

The move is designed to help police identify individuals who sell stolen items to area pawn shops, particularly people who bring stolen items in from outside the county. The ordinance makes having a video system in place a condition of obtaining a pawnbroker’s license. The ordinance also specifies that a pawnbroker’s license is good for five years. Licenses are granted by a vote of the full city council.

EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR. Heaton reminded the council that nominations for City of Bardstown Employee of the Year can be submitted to the mayor’s office. In addition to nominations from city employees and council members, Heaton said the public’s nominations are also welcomed. All nominations must be signed by the individual making the nomination. The award will be presented at the city’s Christmas party.

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