City Council OKs purchase of K-9, security cameras

Marianne Gillespie
Chillicothe City Hall

The Chillicothe City Council gave the green light to the police department to bring another four-legged crime stopper to town.

The council approved for no more than $9,000 to be spent from the police forfeiture fund to purchase, train and ship a K-9 dog from Peter Worsdorfer.

On the same day as the last council meeting, Jan. 27, the department's only K-9, Gosh, was put to sleep after medical problems. The German shepherd was about 8 years old and was with the department for about three and one-half years.

Chillicothe Police Chief Scott Mettille said Worsdorfer lives in Germany and is who the Peoria County Sheriff's Department has secured their K-9s through for the last two decades, as well as in recent years by the Peoria Heights Police Department. K-9 Gosh came from a different trainer in Belgium.

Alderman Trish Connor asked if a K-9 dog could be purchased in the United States. Mettille said a dog could be, but Worsdorfer's price is generally cheaper and he is "comfortable" with him since he worked with him when he was employed by Peoria Heights.

"He is renowned in the field. Basically, what he will do is he will go handpick up a dog for us and then he will pre-train the dog over in Germany. So when we receive the dog, the dog will already be certified and be able to do (narcotic) work, protection work, tracking, obedience and everything," Mettille said.

Worsdorfer will send the dog to the police department, where handler Nick Bridges will work with him for two to four weeks before Worsdorfer will travel to work with them together for two to two-and-one-half weeks with the annual training of the other departments.

Mettille added that Worsdorfer also matches the temperament of the dog to its handler, which is another plus in his book.

In other items, the council:

• Approved purchasing security cameras for the police station and City Hall from Surveillance Tech LLC for $10,973. Alderman Mike Hughes said the need came to the forefront after one of the police station's large windows was broken out in the last few months. Mettille said in addition to the broken window, there is one camera inside the police station.

"With bringing prisoners and people into the department, going up and down the halls and everything else, all it takes is for one individual to fall or something to happen and claim police brutality or something else," Mettille said.

Cameras will be both inside and outside the police department. Though there has not been an incident of needing cameras at City Hall, several cameras will be installed in the areas where residents are paying their water bills or stop by the front of the building.

"Everything will be tied into our dispatch center on a 16-inch screen TV with rotating cameras and we actually can have all the cameras up on the screen all at one time," Mettille said.

Alderman Denny Gould asked if the cameras could be moved if City Hall was renovated, which Mettille said they could be at a minimal cost.

• Approved paying $5,233 to the Illinois Department of Central Management Services to install the IWIN communications system. Mettille said the department's new laptops and computer system now can connect with other departments through the IWIN system. The one-time set up fee was budgeted for, he added.

• Authorized City Attorney Mike Seghetti to draft an ordinance amending the liquor chapter of city of code to add four more Class B liquor licenses, which authorizes the sale of packaged alcohol. Mayor Doug Crew said at one time, the council narrowed its amount of licenses, but he proposed, as liquor commissioner, to add the four because there are three businesses who have expressed interest in having a license for that purpose, and another business is interested in coming to Chillicothe. He also said the move would "level the playing field" for similar businesses to have the same opportunity as others.

• Approved the amended Supervisors Wage & Benefit Policy, which Crew said was amended to reflect the recent changes of the council's committee restructuring, which includes a Human Resource Committee. Crew chairs the committee with the committee chairman of the other three committees: Public Safety — Mike Hughes, Finance and Development — Jim Thornton and Public Works — Gould. He said the committee created forms for evaluation and set reviews for April and October.

• Approved wage increases for the supervisors as follows with their new salaries in parantheses: 3 percent for Fire Chief John Myers ($12,820), Office Manager Denise Passage ($59,719) and Police Chief Mettille ($66,512); and 2 percent raises for Economic Development Director Rachael Parker ($50,184) and Superintendent of Public Works Josh Cooper ($55,411). The raises were effective Jan. 1.

• Approved two more resolutions to move forward with the refinancing of the 2006 debt certificates for constructing the water tower in RiverSound Subdivision. The city is attempting to reduce the interest rate on its debt.

• Approved a Project Facelift Program application for the Chillicothe Chamber of Commerce at 1028 N. Second St. for $675. The program grants money to businesses in the downtown area for façade improvements. The chamber will be replacing its window and the fix framework that is rotting, according to an alderman.

• Authorized Cooper to advertise for seasonal employees for the cemetery and parks department. The average number of employees is around five people, Cooper said.

• Heard Alderwoman Trish Connor say in Alderman Gary Sharp's place, she attended a meeting with veterans about a long-term project of creating a veterans' memorial/monument. "They sound like they have some good ideas," Connor said.

• Heard Alderman Danny Colwell say numerous citizens complimented the street department on their snow removal.

• Heard Crew say he wanted ideas from the aldermen on capital projects to be turned in shortly so the council could begin work on prioritizing them. Some of the ideas turned in at that point were building a park on the west side of town, a firehouse on the southwest side of town, new police station, new cemetery fence, new lift station system, water mains, viaduct-water/sewer, lift station on Cloverdale, Three Sisters Park water/sewer main, public works facility, sewer lines, improvements at City Hall and Second Street development. Some have preliminary costs figured already, Crew said. He said he expected that the aldermen would discuss the projects at their next Committee of the Whole meeting, which is set in between the two council meetings of the month.