July 04, 2012 - The Oxford Village Police Department are sworn to protect and serve, but they do more than just protect our streets – they protect tax dollars as well.
Oxford Village Police officers Dave Churchill (left) and Phil Humphrey display some Taser guns and a defibrillator purchased by the department for only the cost of shipping. Photo by Lance Farrell. (click for larger version)
Case in point: Police Chief Mike Neymanowski recently ordered 15 tasers, five automated external defibrillator units (AED), seven rifles, and 10 portable scales to weigh semitrailers. Yet, it didn't cost a dime – all they had to do was pay shipping.
How did the chief pull this off?
He took advantage of a Department of Defense program that redeploys under-utilized equipment. Instead of purchasing $15,000 worth of tasers, Neymanowski looked through the database offered by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and found the items he needed at no cost to the taxpayer.
Considering we've already paid for these items once, this makes good sense. Many of the items were deployed with our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and are now coming home with our men and women in uniform.
So rather than allow good equipment to go to waste, and rather than pay for a rifle again, Neymanowski and police departments all across America can tap in to these reserves and save.
Neymanowski said he became aware of the program and assigned Officer David Churchill to research it at the beginning of 2012. How good a job has Churchill done with the assignment? In six months time, the department has received what would have been $82,697 worth of equipment, but only had to pay $1,800 for it to cover the shipping costs.
Neymanowski thinks the program is great, "because we do have budget concerns (and) there are a lot of things that I wouldn't be able to afford in my regular budget."
As Churchill explained, the DLA program "takes materials that the Department of Defense (DOD) has acquired and is no longer using" These items have been placed on the DLA database because newer items have been developed, or simply because the item is no longer needed by the military. Other than the occasional cosmetic blemish, these items are in fine condition.
There's all kinds of equipment available to fire and law enforcement agencies: helicopters, boats, jet skis, quads, four-wheel drives, trucks, hummers, backhoes, troop carriers, construction equipment, tools, radar equipment--the list goes on.
But "the beauty of (the DLA program)" Churchill continued, "is that this is stuff that we've already paid for. You and I have paid for this stuff. So (the DOD) is not giving us anything, they're just giving back what we paid for. We're reacquiring tax payer dollars."
Protecting our budget is an important aspect of this program, but there is more than money saving occurring here. Oxford citizens benefit in more direct ways as well.
For instance, with the tasers currently issued to Oxford police, officers must replace the proprietary battery at least once a year at the cost of $50. However, the ones purchased through the DLA program can use a standard AA battery pack. We need only "run into a hardware store and grab some batteries," Churchill said.
In addition, these newer tasers provided through the DLA have different lighting options than the taser currently issued, and allow more environmental control than the current model.
And whereas the department was previously limited to only three tasers and was required to rotate them through all Oxford officers, "now we have enough tasers for all our men to be requisitioned one, just like we would do any other kind of weapon or firearm," Churchill said.
In the past, Oxford may have had to send officers out without the nonlethal weapon, but "now we don't have to worry about that," confided Churchill.
Another beneficial acquisition through the DLA program was for five AED units. These Automated External Defibrillator devices are "idiot proof (and) actually walk you through the CPR process," Churchill explained. It will tell you if a shock is needed or how to administer CPR should a victim need it.
These items were procured at a great savings, but their value is much more than monetary. Previously, village officers "had nothing; (now,) we'll have one in each car," he said.
So not only has the Oxford Police department saved taxpayer dollars, they'll be better able to save a life should the occasion arise.
These benefits eclipse the financial savings, though they are far from negligible and certainly factor into Neymanowki's decision making process. "Nowadays," he continued, "with budget concerns, we're taking an active approach to find other sources to fund equipment needs." He plans to continue using the DLA program in the future.