Leadington Officer Andrew Lewis, a former Marine, plans to join the funeral procession for fallen Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz on Thursday in the St. Louis area.
The Board of Aldermen gave approval during Tuesday night’s meeting for Lewis to take the day off and to take a patrol car to the procession.
“There will be other departments involved and stuff like that, as well as military,” Interim Police Chief Jerry Hicks said. “I think it would be a kind gesture and a very honorable gesture.”
Schmitz, 20, from St. Charles County, was killed in a suicide bombing on Aug. 26 in at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan. The procession will go from Baue Funeral Home in St. Charles County to Jefferson Barracks National in St. Louis County. The Missouri State Highway Patrol said that 31 miles of area highways would be closed starting at about 2 p.m.
In other police department matters, the board approved the purchase of body cameras.
The four body cameras from Digital Ally come at a price of $9,160 for a five-year contract.
“I’m a fan,” Mayor Joe Davis said, “but they are costly.”
Chapman said they are hoping to possibly get funding through the American Rescue Plan Act.
The aldermen decided to just go with the body cameras for now and not do the cameras for the cars, which are $9,260 per car.
“I think just the body cameras right now,” said Alderman Dustin McKinney, who is a former police chief for the city. “You guys got 17 traffic stops for a whole month. I think spending all that money when you only have three or four officers, I think it needs to be more before we spend that kind of money on full setup.”
The board also approved purchases of $150 plus the cost of ammunition for three of the officers to attend firearms training and $134 for 50 extra uniform patches.
Hicks also told the board it was a slow month with 138 total calls and that thefts were down with only two.
The alderman also agreed to send the department’s unused fingerprinting machine back to the state to be reallocated.
“Anybody who gets booked goes straight to county and gets fingerprinted there,” Davis said. “There's no use for it. We got it on a grant with no cost, so we can't sell it or do anything with it. And we'll basically be giving it back. But we'll also be saving ourselves the internet fee that was required to have a line back there to it, even though we never used it.”
It will save the city $99 a month for the internet line.
Although the item was tabled, the board did discuss what’s next for the city’s sales tax pledge. The current water and sewer tax is set to expire at the end of the year. The money was used to make sewer and drainage improvements.
In order to renew it, they must pick a new fund to roll it over to and then it must be put on a ballot for the voters.
“It's one of those things that, if we lose it, yes, it's money back in people's pockets,” Davis said. “But on the flip side, it's easier from a funding-and-rewrite perspective, to renew it, roll it into something else than it would be to create a whole new one.”
They plan to discuss possible funding ideas at next month’s meeting.
During the monthly report from the fire department, the board approved $5,173.78 to fix a mechanical seal on a pump of one of the trucks plus to do pump and ladder testing on both trucks. The testing was budgeted for but the $3,856 for the broken seal was not.
Assistant Fire Chief Tommy Hill said the pump is leaking water.
“It’s getting rapidly worse,” he added.
They also approved $181.74 for radio clips and chargers.
With approval from the board, the department plans to donate its cascade compressor to the Irondale department. It cannot be used to fill Leadington’s new SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) bottles. But Irondale can use it.
During the maintenance department report, the aldermen approved $2,200 for 26 tons of salt for the winter. Ice melt is also needed but they are hoping to find a Leadington business to buy it from.
Nikki Overfelt-Chifalu is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at email@example.com.