During its Feb. 26 regular meeting, the Globe City Council unanimously approved two items related to the city’s police department that should help relations with the San Carlos department and make the storage and disposition of evidence easier in the future.
One is an agency assist agreement between the Globe Police Department and the San Carlos Apache Reservation and the other funds improvements to city police facilities.
The Globe and San Carlos police entered into a mutual aid agreement for law enforcement assistance, that permits tribal law enforcement agencies with “primary jurisdiction over crimes committed by Indians within the exterior boundaries” of the San Carlos Reservation to request assistance from the Globe police or the Gila County Attorney’s Office.
When the agenda item was first discussed at the Feb. 12 council meeting, Globe Chief of Police Dale Walters talked about the Reservation’s “unique standing as a sovereign nation,” and that his department’s assistance would be “by request only.”
“This mutual aid agreement is going to help both ways,” he told council.
Councilwoman Charlene Giles asked if the agreement was a first for Globe and San Carlos.
Walters said that, to his knowledge, it may be a first for Globe.
“It’s a huge step in the right direction,” he said.
Mayor Al Gameros said that San Carlos Chief of Police Alejandro Benally said it is “the first time in 15 years that he has been approached by Globe.”
As of press time, Benally had not responded to requests for comment.
Prior to the council’s vote, Walters said that while his department and the San Carlos Apache Police Department worked together before “we just never partnered with them.”
“This will be a benefit to the citizens of Globe and the greater Cobre Valley area,” he told council.
In another vote that evening, the council unanimously approved transferring $65,822.77 from the city budget’s contingency fund for police expenditures and re-allocating $60,000 in capital improvement funds.
Combined with $20,000 originally allocated for design and architectural services for the facility, staff plans to cover the costs associated with the police equipment upgrade, the police evidence building and phase one of improvements to the police main building.
City staff originally brought the item before council on Feb. 12, calling it “an unexpected opportunity as well as an unknown need.”
While preparing the fiscal year 2018-19 budget, staff expected the police department would very soon need an intermediate building. The only funds allocated to the facility at that time was $20,000 for design and architectural services.
City Manager Paul Jepson said that when Walters was hired Sept. 10, 2018, “his first comments to me were that the police department did not need a new building, they just needed to get all the evidence and clutter out of the current building.”
After that, city staff began to work on three different efforts:
Evidence building — Evidence has been “scattered all over the city,” including the department’s own basement and the Conex (shipping) containers in front of City Hall, as well as “various locations at Public Works.”
In January, the city leased a building in Globe with the plan to renovate and modify it for storing evidence.
After receiving quotes, staff determined that the cost of all modifications would be $41,067.61.
Main building — Once it was determined the police would stay in their current location, it became obvious to staff that the building’s interior workspaces would need to be “cleaned out and cleaned up.”
“Prior police department administrations, for whatever reason, have neglected this building and workspaces and no money has been spent on facility improvements over the last five years,” Jepson said.
While the cost of basic repairs, remodeling and fixtures will be $49,064.44, “it is much more affordable than a new building,” he said in his staff report.
Equipment upgrades — “If our goal as a city it to have a higher quality and professional police department, we must equip them with the minimum standard of basic tools needed to do their job,” Jepson said.
The police department currently lacks basic safety and operational equipment and, knowing that, “it would be irresponsible, at the minimum, to not act now to re-quip the department properly,” he said. “We would be neglectful.”
The cost to re-equip the department is $58,690.72. Items to be purchased include ballistic helmets and shields, active shooter vests, Glocks, ammunition (both practice and duty), pepper spray and respirators.
Prior to the council’s unanimous vote, Giles gave “kudos” to Walters for his efforts to improve a police force building that is “not getting any better,” given “its smelly carpet and those 100-year-old windows.”
Councilman Freddy Rios also commended Walters for “reaching deep into your budget to get what your department and your staff needs.”
Rios described the other city department heads as doing much the same, as well.
“I commend you, the other department heads and Paul Jepson,” he said.