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The Premier Magazine For America’s Municipalities


April 2021

INSIDE: HOG Technologies is changing the industry of Thermoplastic ABLE Project training goes nationwide Bolingbrook, IL Permit No. 1939



Student firefighters learn profession


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April 2021 | VOL. 12 No. 1 | www.themunicipal.com

17 Focus on

Shutterstock photos


Focus on Public Safety: 40 Fleet Services & 26 18 ABLE Project provides tools for Maintenance: Rock Creek Fire intervention and officer wellbeing

District receives ladder truck through DOD firefighter program

22 Focus on Public Safety: 42 Streets, Highways & Student firefighter program allows recruits to serve while pursuing a degree


Bridges: Pedestrian bridge reconstruction a key element for downtown Rockford’s economy

26 Focus on Public Safety: 46 Public Works: Buffalo Drone usage in law enforcement likely to increase

Grove restructures public works to spark innovation

30 Focus on Public Safety: 50 Parks & Environmental Partnerships become key when serving amusement parks

Services: City pools and beaches adapt to COVID

34 Focus on Public Safety: 54 Building & Construction: Wiregrass Public Safety Center offers unique community aspect

Port Neches seizes river of opportunity


The Premier Magazine For America’s Municipalities

ON THE COVER Hog Technologies has offered innovative pavement solutions for the road, highway and airport industries for more than 30 years. From marking and rubber removal to cutting rumble strips and thermoplastic line marking, the company has the solution. Learn more on page 10.


April 2021

INSIDE: ABLE Project training goes nationwide Student firefighters learn profession www.themunicipal.com



Meet our Staff publisher RON BAUMGARTNER rbaumgartner@the-papers.com

8  Editor’s Note: Moving forward following a tumultuous 2020

editor-in-chief DEB PATTERSON dpatterson@the-papers.com

editor SARAH WRIGHT swright@the-papers.com

publication manager CHRIS SMITH chris@themunicipal.com

senior account executive REES WOODCOCK rees@themunicipal.com

10 From the Cover: Hog Technologies simplifies pavement jobs with innovative solutions

12 Unique Claims to Fame:

Five Museums, Cody, Wyo.

14 City Seals: Taunton, Mass. 36 Personality Profile: West Jordan

police officer Kim Waelty calls her career a blessing

58 Conference Calendar 59 Product Spotlights 60 Company Profile: Oelo’s colorful lights pull double duty, saving money

graphic designer MARY LESTER mlester@the-papers.com

62 News & Notes 68 Guest Column: Lebanon sparks

community conversation on policing

business manager CARRIE GORALCZYK cgoralczyk@the-papers.com

director of marketing STEVE MEADOWS smeadows@the-papers.com

mail manager KHOEUN KHOEUTH kkhoeuth@the-papers.com

70 Top 10: Most and least ‘sinful’ cities 73 Advertiser Index

WWW.THEMUNICIPAL.COM PO Box 188 • 206 S. Main St., Milford, IN 46542 866-580-1138/Fax 800–886–3796 Editorial Ext. 2307; Advertising Ext. 2505, 2408


The Municipal does not knowingly accept false or misleading advertising or editorial content, nor does The Municipal or its staff assume responsibility should such advertising or editorial content appear in any publication. The Municipal reserves the right to determine the suitability of all materials submitted for publication and to edit all submitted materials for clarity and space. The Municipal has not independently tested any services or products advertised herein and has verified no claims made by its advertisers regarding those services or products. The Municipal makes no warranties or representations and assumes no liability for any claims regarding those services or products or claims made by advertisers regarding such products or services. Readers are advised to consult with the advertiser regarding any such claims and regarding the suitability of an advertiser’s products. No reproduction of The Municipal is allowed without express written permission. Copyright © 2021.


Editor’s Note

Moving forward following a tumultuous 2020 Sarah Wright | Editor


hat a year 2020 was for public safety agencies. Not only was there a global pandemic to strain resources and operations, but cities across the U.S. also became the sites for numerous protests following the killing of George Floyd. Many city officials are still grappling with the difficult conversations sparked by these events while also seeking the best path forward. Over the months, it has become clear said path will look different from community to community. In our December issue, The Municipal shared the Eugene-Springfield, Ore., area program called Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets, or CAHOOTS. Since that article and this past summer’s events, more cities are unrolling similar programs, which use social workers and other licensed medical workers like EMTs, nurse practitioners and mental health providers to respond to mental health crises rather than police. As of February, Oregon was considering a proposal to bring CAHOOTS-style services to the entire state. This bill — HB 2417 or the CAHOOTS Act — would create matching grants for cities and counties to use to fund similar teams. Meanwhile, Denver, Colo., has been making headlines for its CAHOOTS-style pilot program, which is called the Support Team Assistance Response, or STAR. Since its launch in June, STAR has responded to 748 calls, none of which required police assistance or arrests. USA Today noted, “Denver police responded to nearly 95,000 incidents over the same period, suggesting that an expanded STAR program could reduce police calls by nearly 3%, according to the report.”


Many police departments have been looking inward since the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014, and 2020 saw a continuation of this trend, with many emphasizing new training methods and policies. In this issue, we highlight one nationwide project — the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement — which teaches first responders to intervene when necessary to prevent their colleagues from causing harm or making costly mistakes. Writer Amanda Demster spoke with the project’s co-founder, Jonathan Aronie, and three departments in various stages of launching ABLE Project training. Launched in June 2020, ABLE is based on the New Orleans Police Department’s Ethical Policing is Courageous program. Denise Fedorow is writing about two police departments’ drone programs in Wilmington, N.C., and Brookhaven, Ga. The latter police department plans to use drones to respond to some 911 calls, giving first responders a bird’s-eye view of what is occurring on the scene. It is hoped the drone will de-escalate certain situations. Also included in this public safety themed issue are Manhattan, Kan.’s, student firefighter program, a peek at what it’s like having a nearby amusement park for fire departments and a spotlight on Dothan, Ala.’s, Wiregrass Public Safety Center, which is a unique facility in that it serves not only police and fire but also the community as a whole. Different communities will have different responses to the unrest of 2020 as they have different needs and demographics, but hopefully, municipalities will learn from each other much like with CAHOOTS and the ABLE Project. Great ideas are meant to be shared as we all benefit from them. As always, stay well, everyone! 



From The Cover

Instead of using a traditional kettle, the Thermo Hog circulates heated oil through a heat exchanger, covering the entire surface, which allows it to be shut down instantly without waiting for the thermoplastic to settle and cool at the bottom. (Photo provided)

Hog Technologies simplifies pavement jobs with innovative solutions By JOSH PIEDRA | Content Manager and Designer

Hog Technologies has a 30-plus year history manufacturing solutions for the road, highway and airport industries. These solutions range from marking and rubber removal, grinding and grooving, cutting rumble strips, thermoplastic line marking, and surface cleaning. These solutions make Hog Technologies your total pavement solution.

Water blasting The Stripe Hog has won many awards and has become the preferred water blasting machine amongst contractors. With the fastest removal rates in the industry and flow rates from 5.2 GPM (19.2 LPM) to 24 GPM (91 LPM), the Stripe Hog delivers a wide variety of versatile solutions for any job. The Stripe Hog can be integrated into the chassis of your choice, run independently with an auxiliary engine or fit onto a skid or trailer. In addition, there are many tools available to help you get the job done such as our Ground Hog walk-behind tool, our Hog Rider tractor, our Hog Waller handheld blaster as well as our Hog Tusk grinding/water blasting combo head and our Triple 10   THE MUNICIPAL | APRIL 2021

Spray Bar, which gives you a retexturing and removal path up to 48 inches wide. In fact, the Stripe Hog 24.0 is able to house up to three of these Triple-Head Spray Bars for a total blasting width of 96 inches (243 centimeters). With such a wide path, road retexturing jobs have their time investment significantly reduced. Thermoplastic marking After years of research and testing, the Thermo Hog was born. Instead of using a traditional kettle, the Thermo Hog circulates heated oil through a heat exchanger, covering the entire surface.

Since the surface is evenly heated, a Thermo Hog can shut down instantly without waiting for the thermoplastic to settle and cool at the bottom. This innovation also allows the Thermo Hog to achieve ultra-fast startup times of around one hour. The temperature in the kettle never exceeds 500°F, resulting in no scorched or charred material. The kettles can be built to any size and offer capacities up to 16,000 pounds. With two kettles per truck, you can house up to 32,000 pounds or thermoplastic and melt them at rates up to 24,000 pounds per hour. After innovating this new technology, Hog Technologies transferred that innovation to a skid-based system. Its skids come in sizes as small as a twin 1,250-pound skid all the way up to an 8,000-pound skid. Depending on the model, the skids can also melt at rates of 2,000, 6,000 and 8,000 pounds per hour, respectively. It uses the same melting technology as the Thermo Hog with temperatures never exceeding 500°F. The skids are also available in single- or dual-color configurations and have the option to load the thermoplastic via a conveyor belt to reduce worker fatigue and strain. In addition, Hog Technologies has introduced its brand-new Mini Hog. Slightly larger than a John Deere tractor, this small form factor machine can melt thermoplastic and apply it to the pavement without having to feed it into a separate application vehicle or device. The Mini Hog is the perfect solution for smaller jobs such as parking lots, crosswalks and other road markings. The Mini Hog comes with a shoe applicator that allows you to customize your line widths. The shoe has four doors that are 4 inches, 2 inches, 2 inches and 4 inches. Simply open the knives for the door(s) that you need in order to achieve your desired line width. You can also just open the outer 4-inch knives to perform a double line. Grinding/grooving/rumble strips Hog Technologies began this venture with the Rumble Hog. By mounting a cutting drum on the rear of a Ford F-750, the Rumble Hog became a three-in-one solution, grinding pavement markings, grooving pavement for inlaid markings and cutting rumble strips. After a while, we needed a chassis with more power, so we switched to the Mack GU432 chassis. With that, we were able to offer additional features such as an offloading auger, a scissor lift high dump, and a cutting package that performed plunge cuts and sinusoidal cuts. While a rear-mounted drum that did everything was pretty innovative, Hog Technologies soon discovered the traditional method of having heads on each side of the truck was still a desired solution for contractors. With that in mind, the Grinder Hog was born. The Grinder Hog can house two, three or four total heads so you can perform centerline and shoulder work simultaneously. Surface cleaning The Surface Hog is built on an Isuzu NRR chassis, allowing it to fit into tight areas. Using up to 7,250 psi, the Surface Hog can clean and prepare surfaces including porous asphalt, making it perfect for airport parking lots and parking garages. The Surface Hog uses a water reclamation system for a three- to four-hour runtime and can be converted into a light-duty water blaster with an optional 40,000 psi pump.

The Grinder Hog can house two, three or four total heads so crews can perform centerline and shoulder work simultaneously. (Photo provided)

The Stripe Hog can be integrated into the chassis of preference, run independently with an auxiliary engine or fit onto a skid or trailer. The Stripe Hog 24.0’s ability to house up to three TripleHead Spray Bars can blast a width of 96 inches, greatly reducing the time spent on road retexturing jobs. (Photo provided)

The hog difference Hog Technologies prides itself on its team of customer service specialists, who are ready to help 24/7, 365 days a year. We also ship 98% of parts orders the same day that the order is placed to keep customers’ downtime to a minimum. To aid this endeavor, Hog Technologies opened a dedicated European office in the Czech Republic in 2018. Hog Technologies also offers training through Hog Tech University. We believe training is vital to ensure the job is done correctly. With the proper training, we truly believe you can maximize productivity, minimize costs and optimize results.  www.thehog.com (772) 214-1714 APRIL 2021 | THE MUNICIPAL  11


Unique Claims To Fame

Five Museums Cody, Wyo. By RAY BALOGH | The Municipal

The math of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyo., works out rather well: one admission price equals two days’ access to five rich and captivating museums and one extensive research library, all under one roof.

ABOVE: The bronze statue, “Buffalo Bill — The Scout,” was dedicated July 4, 1924. It rests upon a stone base representing nearby Cedar Mountain, where William Cody is buried. (Photo by Alisalla/ Shutterstock.com) TOP PHOTO: The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is comprised of five museums packed with memorabilia, displays and interactive exhibits. Tickets to the facility are good for two consecutive days. (Photo by Ridvan Ozdemir/Shutterstock.com)


The inaugural museum, originally called the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, was founded in 1917 — the year William F. Cody, aka Buffalo Bill, passed away at the age of 70 in a log cabin across the road from the current location — and now ranks as the world’s oldest and most comprehensive museum complex dedicated to the American West. The current quintet of museums share a building comprising 7 acres, or more than 300,000 square feet, of floor space, containing 50,000-plus artifacts and a research library boasting 30,000 books, 400 manuscript collections and more than half a million photographs. The complex’s natural history museum houses a dozen raptors, including eagles, hawks, falcons, vultures, kestrels and owls, which are featured year-round in daily educational presentations. The museums’ expansiveness in recognizing the man’s legacy is understandable. Cody rode for the Pony Express at age 15, served as a scout for the U.S. Army, worked as a town developer and railroad contractor, spent time as a fur trapper and gold prospector and gained

international fame as a showman and founder of “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” worldwide traveling extravaganza. Authors and historians widely recognized Cody as “the most recognizable celebrity on Earth.” Each of the five museums embraces the history and culture of those who inhabited the West, and contain numerous fascinating displays, many of them interactive. Small wonder the admission tickets are good for two consecutive days. Buffalo Bill Museum The inaugural museum celebrates the life of William “Buffalo Bill” Cody “from birth to death and every adventure in between,” according to www.centerofthewest.org. Features and exhibits include: • Personal possessions of Cody, including the buckskin coat he wore as an Army scout, fringed show jacket and beaded gloves he donned for his Western performances, his various firearms and items reflecting his life as husband and father. • Displays and information on other Western characters, including the most famous of his show’s 1,200 performers, such as Annie Oakley, Wild Bill Hickock, Sitting Bull and Geronimo. • “Bison and the West” exhibit offering “an up-close, immersive encounter” with the mighty beasts that once roamed the plains by the millions. • Deadwood Stagecoach, built circa 1880, accompanied by eyewitness stories. • A scale model of a “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” performance and a 28-foot-wide poster advertising his show for its first tour in London in 1887. •A  recreation of one of Cody’s hunting camps. • The chuckwagon, complete with gear, from Cody’s 8,000-acre ranch. Plains Indian Museum With one of the nation’s largest collections of Native American art and artifacts, the museum explores the cultures, histories, artistry and traditions of Plains Indian tribes. Features include: • The 1911 log house owned by Standing Bear, the Lakota chief and civil rights leader who appeared before the U.S. District Court in Omaha in 1879 and successfully argued that Native Americans are “persons within the meaning of the law.” • An authentic buffalo hide tepee, composed of 13 hides and measuring 19 feet in diameter at its base. • “Buffalo and the People” gallery, detailing the importance of the animal to the survival of the tribes. Whitney Western Art Museum Housing a world-class collection of Western art, the museum hosts exhibits grouped by subjects, including Western landscapes, Native American depictions, Western heroes and legends, wildlife and historic events. Draper Natural History Museum The immersive, kid-friendly museum centers on the sights, sounds and smells of Yellowstone National Park and offers a scavenger hunt through four ecosystems.

Several items of Buffalo Bill’s showman wardrobe are on display, including his beaded leather gloves. (Photo by Gina Stef/Shutterstock.com)

Adventure passports are available to be stamped at six stations along self-guided tours through three “large, interconnected and immersive galleries”: • Expedition Trailhead, which allows exploration of two rustic cabins, geological samples and a naturalist’s study with reading material and an educational video. • Alpine-to-Plains Trail, a gently sloping, winding walkway through forests and a mountain meadow and past plains and basin environment exhibits. The ceiling of the 90-foot rotunda projects a continually changing Yellowstone sky. • Monarch of the Skies interdisciplinary exhibit, which integrates science, visual arts and references to Native American culture. The exhibition’s focus is on the nesting ecology and movements of the golden eagle. Cody Firearms Museum Recognized as the most comprehensive firearms museum in the United States, the museum contains more than 4,000 firearms and another 6,000-plus related artifacts spanning more than seven centuries. Among the features: •F  irearms dating back to 1400. • Tactile study sessions on the mechanics and safe handling of firearms. • A comprehensive timeline of firearms history, including material tackling the misconceptions about weapons in the Wild West. • A recreated Western town, a science center examining the “physics of precision,” a display of military weapons and long-range rifle and shotgun simulators. Visitors can also experience chuckwagon dinners, horse rides, exclusive tours and special events throughout the year. Public hours vary depending on the season, but the center is open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. For more information, call (307) 587-4771 or visit www.centerofthewest.org. 



City Seals

Taunton, Mass. The city seal of Taunton, Mass., hails the achievement of one particular woman by depicting her doing something she never did. The seal’s central image shows settler Elizabeth Poole (15881654) purchasing land from the local Wampanoag Indians, with towering trees and two tepees in the background. The center shield is surrounded by imagery of the Taunton River, ironworks, mills, a steam locomotive and other industrial and residential structures. Poole never engaged in the actual transaction of purchasing the acreage, but that historical inexactitude is more than compensated for by the ribbon banner across the top of the image, which bears the Latin phrase “dux femina facti,” taken from Virgil’s “Aeneid,” meaning “a woman was leader of the exploit.” Poole, in fact, is considered the foundress of Taunton, and is the first woman known to have founded a town in the Americas. She arrived in the American colonies from Devon, England, in 1633 to form a settlement and evangelize Native Americans. The wealthy matriarch purchased a large section of Taunton acreage in 1637 (the area was then called Cohannet, Tetiquet or Titiquet), contributed generously to local industry and was pivotal in founding the settlement’s church. She was a major financier of Taunton’s first dam and iron mill, which operated for more than two centuries until its closing in 1876. Her life, character and legacy are feted in a lengthy encomium etched on her gravestone: “Here rest the remains of Elizabeth Poole, a native of Old England, of good family, friends, and prospects, all which she left in the prime of her life, to enjoy the religion of her conscience, in this distant wilderness; a great proprietor of the township of Taunton, a chief promoter of its settlement, and its incorporation in 1639-40; about which time she settled near this spot, and having employed the opportunity of her virgin state in piety, liberality, and sanctity of manners, died May 21, 1654, aged 65.” Taunton, current population 57,662, was incorporated as a town in 1639 and as a city in 1864. Taunton historically thrived on industries such as silversmithing and shipbuilding, and became known as “Silver City” in the 19th century. Local silversmith manufacturer Reed & Barton produced medals for the 1996 Summer Olympics and silverware for the White House. Today the city’s economy depends upon semiconductor, silicon and electronics manufacturing. Taunton boasts nine historic districts and more than 100 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Architectural styles range from Colonial to modern; the city’s oldest private home dates to 1688. Its central fire station is the oldest functioning station house in the United States. For more information, visit www.taunton-ma.gov. 14   THE MUNICIPAL  |  APRIL 2021

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Focus on: Public Safety


The number of St. Louis County Police Department commissioned and professional staff members who will be participating in Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement Project training.

Learn more about the ABLE Project on page 18.

20% The percentage of the Manhattan, Kan., Fire Department members who got their start in the profession as a student firefighter through the department’s program.

Focus on:

PUBLIC SAFETY $50,000-$60,000

The estimated cost for Brookhaven, Ga.’s, police department to launch its drone program, which in the near future could use drones to respond to some 911 calls. After the initial cost, the program is expected to cost between $18,000 to $23,000 a year for software and maintenance.

Read more about Manhattan Fire Department’s student firefighter program on page 22.

See how Brookhaven, Ga., and Wilmington, N.C., are using drones on page 26.

$25 million

The 25-acre, $25 million Wiregrass Public Safety Center in Dothan, Ala., offers training opportunities to police and fire departments and the community as a whole, making it unique when compared to other centers in the U.S. Learn more about Wiregrass Public Safety Center on page 34.

748 The number of calls Denver, Colo.’s, Support Team Assisted Response Program has responded to. The STAR Program allows for a mental health professional to de-escalate a situation.

Source: https://www.fox5ny.com/news/denvers-star-program-successfully-sent-mentalhealth-professionals-not-police-to-hundreds-of-calls

300 acres Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Ill., is this size and attracts about 3 million visitors a year. Gurnee Village Fire Department handles both fire and rescue situations at the park. Read how Gurnee Village Fire Department and Sandusky, Ohio, Fire Department serve their local amusement parks on page 30.

$50,000 Fall River, Wis., Police Department’s fundraising goal to implement a K9 program. Source: https://www.wiscnews.com/columbusjournal/announcements/community/ fall-river-police-department-to-implement-k9-program/article_ed54f0ff-b3fb-5731-b5d622a270dd117f.html


M Focus on: Public Safety

ABLE Project provides tools for intervention and officer well-being

New Orleans Police Department’s Ethical Policing is Courageous program serves as the base for the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement Project, which is designed to teach potentially life-saving intervention skills to police personnel. Pictured are NOPD members leading the Decadence parade in the French Quarters in 2019. (Suzanne C. Grim/Shutterstock.com)


Georgetown University partnered with New Orleans Police Department and Jonathan Aronie, an attorney at Sheppard Mullin LLP, to bring the ABLE Project to police departments nationwide. (Sharkshock/Shutterstock.com)

By AMANDA DEMSTER | The Municipal

Often, when an incident escalates out of control, the human tendency is to avoid stepping in. However, inactive bystandership can have disastrous consequences, particularly in policing. With this in mind, Georgetown University, in conjunction with the New Orleans Police Department, has created the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement Project, designed to teach potentially life-saving intervention skills to police personnel. ABLE Project co-founder Jonathan Aronie gave two examples of tragic situations that could have been prevented. In one, an officer died after a series of mistakes led to an armed suspect being placed in his police vehicle. More recently, George Floyd, an unarmed civilian, died after a police officer used excessive force that many believe was racially charged. In these and many other situations, nearby officers could have spoken up but did not. This lack of intervention was not due to laziness or lack of caring. Nor did they necessarily condone what was being done. Rather, Aronie noted, they lacked the tools necessary to know what to do.

What is ABLE? ABLE launched in June 2020 and is based on NOPD’s Ethical Policing is Courageous program. Besides being a co-founder, Aronie, an attorney at Sheppard Mullin LLP, serves as ABLE Project chair and is a member of the board of advisors. Aronie also oversaw the formation of and adherence to EPIC training. Following Floyd’s death, NOPD received requests for EPIC training throughout the country. Realizing the need was greater than the NOPD could meet alone, it turned to Georgetown Law. Aronie’s firm donated funding toward the formation of a program like EPIC that would be accessible to police departments nationwide. Departments choose personnel to act as ABLE representatives, undergoing training so they, in turn, can serve as trainers. ABLE focuses on three pillars: preventing misconduct, avoiding mistakes and officer health and wellness. It does not point the

Sgt. Justin Nichols, St. Louis County Police Department, teaches ABLE principles. The department plans to have approximately 1,300 commissioned and professional staff members take the training this summer. (Photo provided)

finger but seeks to understand why an officer might react badly to a situation and why those around that person might be reluctant to step in. Then, it teaches them to take action. “We have a responsibility to advocate and push back on police misconduct and (focus on) the prevention of mistakes, and really watch over our fellow brothers and sisters when it comes to health and wellness,” Sgt. Justin Nichols, St. Louis County Police Department in Missouri, said. The concepts taught through ABLE are not brand-new, Aronie said. Intervention skills have been taught for years in other lines of work, yet somehow overlooked in policing. “There are these long-studied inhibitors for intervention that are never taught to police,” he said. “They are taught to nurses and doctors, they’re taught to co-pilots 


continued from page 19

and navigators. They are actually taught on college campuses now.” To qualify for ABLE, a department must commit to a list of 10 standards, one of which is obtaining letters of support from community organizations. Letters of support have come from local NAACP chapters, faith-based organizations, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, American Civil Liberties Union chapters in New Hampshire and Washington State, Black Lives Matter, Southern Methodist University and many others. ABLE trainer Lt. Shelly Katkowski, Burlington, N.C., Police Department, feels the program is a good complement to policies already in place in Burlington’s department. “We had a very up-to-date, viable policy regarding duty to intervene, and we recognized that, although we had that policy, there is an element of training that needs to be implemented,” she said. Beyond training ABLE is not meant to be a one-time course to check off of a list. “We don’t want this program just to be a one-time shot,” Nichols said. “We want it and see it as a cultural change, to allow us as the Diversity and Inclusion Unit to really build and integrate it throughout all of our systems.” According to officer Jesse Carr, ABLE coordinator for the Southern Methodist University Police Department in Texas, ABLE concepts are relevant in a variety of scenarios. “The nice thing about ABLE is it doesn’t train or really prepare you for a situation that’s specific to a type of crime or a type of incident that you might encounter as an officer,” he said. “It’s very universal and a lot of the principles it teaches can be applied to any situation.” Participating agencies are given posttraining surveys, which Georgetown will index and use to better understand how the program is working. “Part of the ABLE program is to capture that information when we have successful interventions,” Nichols said. “Even if it is, say for instance, a use-of-force scenario, but someone comes in later in that scenario and prevents further harm, we want to acknowledge those individuals who stepped up and intervened.” 20   THE MUNICIPAL | APRIL 2021

In Texas, the Southern Methodist University Police Department is finding ABLE concepts are relevant to various scenarios, including with officers intervening on themselves. (Photo provided)

Carr believes quantifying the program’s dynamics, where we see people going success could be difficult, because it would through hard times in life,” Nichols said. involve measuring events that never hap- “To peek into their life a little bit and give pened since they were prevented. them the help that they need, to be accept“Tangibly, that’s hard to do,” he said. “But I ing of intervention, to understand that, all would say, probably the biggest way is keep- the way from the chief on down, they can ing it as something that’s active, but then be intervened on when they see mistakes also ensuring that … myself as the coordina- happening.” tor and the other instructors, making sure we’re still out there and involved with the Focus on well-being officers and keeping ourselves aware of situ- One of the ABLE components that stands ations where ABLE did come into play.” out most to Katkowski is its focus on officer The Burlington Police Department has well-being, something seldom addressed in already incorporated ABLE into its man- policing until recently. datory in-service training. Meanwhile, the “For many years, it wasn’t OK to not be OK,” Southern Methodist University Police Katkowski said. “That was just the job. You Department has doubled the required fol- didn’t talk about it when you left that scene, low-up training hours from two to four. St. or maybe you didn’t cope with it the way you Louis County Police Department hopes the should or made jokes instead of sitting down program will permeate the very essence of and actually saying, ‘It really bothered me.’ its workings. And now agencies are finally recognizing, “We hope this training will give us the we’re not meant to see the things we see at skills to intervene not just in a use-of-force the rate we see them.” scenario, but in everyday, interpersonal

Intervening on a fellow officer can be easier said than done, Katkowski said, especially if the officer needing intervention outranks the other officers nearby. It’s hard to go into a scene where, say, a lieutenant is having a bad day and say, ‘I’ve got this one,’ and the person being intervened on has to accept it,” she said. Sometimes, an officer may need to intervene on oneself, Carr said. “Part of the program is you can intervene on yourself, and that’s not a simple thing, identifying where you’re starting to lose control and tapping out and letting somebody else tap in and allowing yourself to kind of take a pause and recollect yourself,” he said. While this goes a long way to protect civilians, it also serves to protect the officers. The how-tos Carr noted, while there has been a lot of focus on the duty to intervene, there has not been a lot of discussion on the “how.” Nichols commented programs like ABLE represent a duty police departments have to the communities they serve. “So often in law enforcement, we get programs that teach us life-saving measures in so many areas,” Nichols said. “This is a program that changes law enforcement culture … we need to really step up and hold ourselves accountable to the standards that we have in many of our policies.” The St. Louis County Police Department learned of the training when its deputy chief attended the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Conference in New Orleans, where he took part in an EPIC program. Impressed, he asked Nichols and the department’s Diversity and Inclusion Unit to attend a virtual EPIC conference, where they learned about ABLE. “We were astounded by just the accuracy, as far as it being part of law enforcement and needed,” Nichols said. “The training was excellent, giving people an excellent plan to intervene, telling everybody about the science behind human behavior in general, so we definitely knew it was something that was needed in this department.” The department plans to have approximately 1,300 commissioned and professional staff members take the training this summer. “Everyone from the chief all the way down to the first-day recruit will participate in this program,” Nichols said.

Burlington, N.C., police officers participate in an Allied Churches of Alamance County event by serving food. (Photo provided)

Burlington, N.C.’s, police department is using ABLE training to complement policies already in place. Pictured are officers participating in a 9/11 remembrance event. (Photo provided) Celebrating the successes Just as important as preventing an incident is the recognition of officers who have used their training. The St. Louis County Police Department has identified ways to recognize these wins, which may involve videos highlighting successful interventions and articles in publications like the Diversity and Inclusion Unit’s newsletter. The Burlington Police Department also makes it a point to celebrate those successes.

“Celebrating those things is so important, because when you reward that behavior, you want to do it, and we do have systems in place where we do try to celebrate those wins,” Katkowski said. “It’s no longer ‘just doing your job.’ It’s celebrating and encouraging you and your peers, plus the person being intervened upon will recognize, ‘Hey, you saved me from potentially getting complained against.” 

On the Web More about the ABLE Project is available at www.law.georgetown.edu/innovativepolicing-program/active-bystandership-for-law-enforcement. To learn more about EPIC, visit www.epic.nola.gov.


M Focus on: Public Safety

Student firefighter program allows recruits to serve while pursuing a degree By NICHOLETTE CARLSON | The Municipal

A student firefighter program started in 1985 by the Manhattan Fire Department in Kansas continues to grow and challenge local college students today. From the very beginning, the program has created a connection between the fire department and Kansas State University. The Headquarters Fire Station and Regional Training Center, which opened in 1985 on the corner of Kimball and Denison avenues, sits on land owned by the university. The university leased it to the city for 50 years. When six men and three women, all students at the university, were hired onto the department, the student firefighter program officially had its beginning. In order to qualify to be hired into the student firefighter program, one must be at least 18 years of age, a U.S. citizen or legal resident and be enrolled at either Kansas State University or Manhattan Christian College. Proof of enrollment or a letter of acceptance must be 22   THE MUNICIPAL  |  APRIL 2021

shown during the formal hiring process. Students must also complete the same six-week fire academy used for full-time hires. Academy is typically held two weeks after spring semester. On the last day of academy, they must also complete the same physical performance assessment. Program hires must reside within the fire department residency area. Within the fire department, student firefighters are classified as a temporary part-time position. Students must maintain at least 12 credit hours per semester as an undergraduate or six hours as a graduate student. Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 grade point average while graduate students must maintain a 3.0 GPA. Any changes in academic status or hours enrolled must be reported to the department.

ABOVE: Members of the Manhattan Fire Department in Kansas, including student firefighters, responded to a fire at Hale Library at the Kansas State University campus. To become a student firefighter, the man or woman must be a student at KSU or Manhattan Christian College. This has created a unique connection between the university and fire department since 1985, when the program first started. (Photo provided by the Manhattan Fire Department)

When it comes to work at the fire department, assignments are limited in duration and dependent upon a shift schedule. On an annual basis, a student firefighter works less than 1,000 hours. They do not receive any fringe benefits from the city. The current hourly rate for a student firefighter is $10.68. There have been some changes throughout the program’s history regarding the student firefighters’ training and responsibilities. Originally, program participants would live for free in the Headquarters Fire Station’s basement quarters in addition to receiving a small

salary. At night the student firefighters would be used to supplement staffing and either assist with dispatch or respond to a fire scene. Deputy Fire Chief Ryan Almes explained, “Dispatching was a large part of the SFF job until dispatch was consolidated in 2012.” Prior to 2012, the department had a full-time day dispatcher and the student firefighters would be assigned shifts to work dispatch overnight. Living arrangements for student firefighters also changed. Students were able to live for free in the basement quarters until 1996 when the area was repurposed. Now the students only stay in the building while on shift. In 1985, training for student firefighters occurred while they were on shift. Now the Former student firefighter Nick Jankovich ventilates a hotel room at training. The student students not only must complete the same firefighter program began in 1985 as a way for local college students to receive firefighter fire academy as full-time firefighters, but they training and a small salary while attending school. (Photo provided by the Manhattan Fire must also complete the same probationary Department) manual that new firefighters are required to complete during their first year of employment. The training received is comprehensive and prepares them to do all the functions of a full-time firefighter. This includes training in hose deployment, search, ventilation, forcible entry, rapid intervention teams, first aid and CPR, hazardous materials, public education and more. “The department does consider the student position as regular staffing for minimum staffing purposes, and they are required to have monthly training but at a reduced rate compared to the full-time positions,” Almes clarified. Before the spring semester’s start in January, the department utilizes a one-week refresher A recruit for the student firefighter program goes through the infamous “box.” This box is academy training course. This enables student part of the rapid intervention training all recruits receive during fire academy. The recruit firefighters to complete the necessary annual has to crawl through the box of tangled wires with a blacked out mask. It takes about requirements and training hours, such as the 10 to 15 minutes and is a mental and physical challenge that teaches them to stay calm department physical. “The only difference under pressure and what a firefighter can do to disentangle themselves. (Photo provided between our full-time firefighters and our stuby the Manhattan Fire Department) dent firefighters is our full-time people have to be certified as EMTs,” Almes described. After completion of the training academy, “On a personal note, I served as a student each student firefighter is assigned to a spe- a student firefighter averages four or five shifts cific captain and firehouse and works only on and between 64 and 80 hours. During semester firefighter for two years before joining the that shift. Battalion chiefs and students work break and summer breaks, student firefighters fire department full time,” Almes stated. “It together on monthly scheduling so there are no are assigned to 24-hour shifts. let me learn about a career in the fire serconflicts with school. The department employs After graduation, some student firefight- vice that I never imagined myself becoming ers choose to apply for full-time status with a part of. After joining, for the first time in my up to 12 student firefighters. On each shift, there are up to three student the department. Currently about 20% of the life, I felt like I truly belonged. I gained many firefighters assigned. “During the school year, department, or 89 of the uniformed full-time great friends through the program who I am students typically report to work at 5 p.m. and members, began as student firefighters. These still very close with today. What a great partwork until 8 a.m. the following day during member positions include the chief, deputy time job and opportunity for so many. I am weekdays and occasionally work a 24-hour shift chief, training chief, fire marshal and one bat- forever grateful for the program.”  on a weekend,” Almes described. Each month talion chief. APRIL 2021  |  THE MUNICIPAL  23

continued from page 23

“The student firefighter program was a great start for my fire service career,” said Manhattan Fire Chief Scott French. “And what an honor it was for me to be able to welcome my son Austin to the Manhattan Fire Department in 2017, when he was hired as a student firefighter.” No matter the future pursuits, Almes emphasized the program has a way of jumpstarting a future career. “We have former SFFs who are career firefighters all over the state of Kansas and some across the nation, including one who is an officer with the Fire Department of New York,” he claimed. Others go on to become physicians, engineers, physician assistants, architects, military officers and entrepreneurs. The program helps not only the department, but the city. This supplemental staffing allows it to have more firefighters on duty at a time. It has also created a network of former employees who other student firefighters as well as community members can reach out to and draw upon their expertise not only in fire service but other professions. Students firefighters also provide the department with a deep, though less traditional connection to the university while working as a good way to fill open full-time positions within the department. “Many departments reach out to us due to the success and longevity of our program,” Almes explained. “I think this is the kind of community-oriented connection many departments would like to have but have had trouble getting started.” 

Student firefighters undergo training at the Biosecurity Research Institute at Kansas State University. Those who are accepted into the program must complete the six-week fire academy and much of the same training full-time members of the department are required to pass. (Photo provided by the Manhattan Fire Department)



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M Focus on: Public Safety

Drone usage in law enforcement likely to increase By DENISE FEDOROW | The Municipal

For police departments across the nation with drone units, their usage is likely to increase as additional benefits are being realized during the current COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, officers could use drones to retain social distancing on an initial call response or in crowd control situations, preserving personal protective equipment.

A Brookhaven, Ga., police officer flies a drone during a training exercise. Brookhaven has taken the additional step to have its officers licensed by the FAA as remote pilots. (Photo provided)


Two departments — one just starting its drone program and the other with an established program behind it — are considering these uses. Wilmington, N.C., first began an airborne unit called SABLE — an acronym for Southeastern North Carolina Airborne Law Enforcement — in 2007 as a multiagency effort between the city of Wilmington, city of Leland, Pender County and New Hanover County. All four departments are equal partners. The unit currently has five full-time and three collateral members. The SABLE unit started with helicopters and two and a half years ago added drones. The drone unit operates under SABLE’s umbrella for record-keeping; however, it is also a multiagency unit that is separate from SABLE. Chief Pilot Officer Paul Letson explained, “We bring in an interested party and get them licensed. They’re first trained as an observer, then they learn the technical side and can assist with camera work, etc., and after they’re certified, they train to become an operator.” The drone unit and the SABLE unit operate under the same standard operating procedures. There are currently five drone unit members with plans to expand to eight. As to why a drone unit was formed, Letson said, “It’s the way of the future. Drones won’t replace our helicopters, but they complement the operation.” When there’s a need for crime scene investigation or crash investigation, a drone is readily available to capture photos. “The helicopter can do the same but on a much larger scale,” he said. During critical incidents where, for example, a subject is barricaded, a helicopter could aggravate the situation, while the quieter drone can still give situational awareness, according to Letson. While the unit has primarily used the drones for CSI and crash investigations in its

This is the DJiiMatrice 300 RTK drone that will be used by Brookhaven, Ga.’s, police department as a first responder drone. This drone, which has a camera with 200 times optical zoom and thermal capabilities, a spotlight and loudspeaker, will be used to respond to 911 calls and update responding ground units on the situation. (Photo provided)

highly developed coastal area, it has also used them for crowd control, “There are no flight secrets,” he said, adding officials constantly push riots and some weather situations. information out to the public via monthly newsletters and keep city When it comes to large crowds, particularly at protests, “the addi- council members informed as they are the ones receiving the most tional noise created by the helicopter can give negative attention and questions. As for distinguishing a police drone from a private drone, Letson instigate a crowd,” he said. The drone can give them the same bird’s-eye view without instiga- said all police drones are registered, but visually the clue will be a tion. “It’s a very good tool for command staff and supervisors on the police presence. “If there’s a police drone flying, there’s going to be scene for situational awareness.” a police presence — a situation will be going on. Everything we do During last summer’s protests, the unit used the drones for crowd is out in the open, so there’s no way to confuse us with a private or overwatch and found it kept the officers and public safer with less business drone.” In the future, he sees the unit using the drones more to assess hurpotential COVID exposure. It wasn’t a hard sell to acquire the drones. “Our agency is very for- ricane and storm damage, and the long-term plan is to integrate a ward-looking, and the drone industry markets itself very well — any drone within each district for the police department to use them as law enforcement administrative conference would have someone additional response units until the helicopter arrives. As large events there talking about the benefits, so by the time we brought it up, the like festivals and concerts start opening up, he envisions the city using bait was already there, and we just laid it out,” Letson said. “So that drones to oversee the crowds. wasn’t a challenge for us — everyone was on board. It was just a matter of how we were going to build it up.” Brookhaven is ready to take flight The challenge for Wilmington came with budgeting for the future. Brookhaven, Ga., was approaching the full operational phase of using “For us, like any agency starting out,” Letson said, “we had an initial drones to respond to 911 calls in mid-February. About 18 officers plan than a follow-up — all equipment has to be maintained over completed the initial training to get Federal Aviation Administration licensed to be remote pilots. time.” Once the unit was operational, all calls involving drones were Lt. Abrem Ayana, program coordinator, said, “Technically speaking, tracked to determine after a few years if the program was sustainable. they just need a certificate of authorization (COA), but we wanted to “There are always hobbyists in aviation, and they become subject take it a step further — another layer that shows this is a professional experts for the agency, so bringing them into the fold for documen- operation.” tation and licensing and having to educate command staff on the As to why Brookhaven wanted a drone unit, Ayana responded, hows and whys of moving forward,” he said. “Those are our chal- “We’ve always been interested in some sort of aerial equipment to lenges — budgets and policies.” give us an advantage.” Being a suburb of metro Atlanta, he said there are a lot of car breakins, and even with a response time of three to five minutes, when Public perception As for public perception, Letson explained, “The way we approached officers pull up in a patrol car, perpetrators see them coming and that is with transparency, education and legal review.” are gone. It was frustrating that the department wasn’t catching a According to Letson, no one person operates the drone alone, and lot of those perpetrators. This led Ayana to think about a drone, and no flights operate outside of approved situations, so there are super- he started doing research. One day a major called him into his office visors there. “So there are checks and balances on-site, checks and and showed him a YouTube video of Chula Vista, Calif.’s, drone unit balances with policies and procedures, and those are all checked by responding to a call. legal review.” “They were the first in the nation — the pioneers — of using a drone On the transparency side, Letson said the unit produces documents to respond to 911 calls,” he said. every month and releases them to the public via the website as to why They watched as the drones stayed on scene, providing updates and the drones flew, where and for what purpose. thought, “That’s awesome! But we’ll never get the money.”  APRIL 2021  |  THE MUNICIPAL  27

continued from page 27

Ayana reached out to Chula Vista’s officers, who encouraged him to pursue it, but he still thought the department would never get the funding. “When the pandemic hit, we were looking at what ways (we could) continue to serve the public but do it safer,” he said. He noted having officers face-to-face with hundreds of people daily potentially makes that officer a pathway to spreading the virus. Officials realized a drone could help with that, giving real-time, quality information where an officer might not be needed versus having an officer knocking on doors interviewing the callers. “It was a no-brainer for us,” he said. He added anytime the department has a critical incident, it would have to typically call the county police for aerial assistance — assistance that may or may not come or could take an hour or more to arrive, depending on circumstances. With a drone, when someone calls 911, he said, “You can get that ‘officer’ on the scene within 30 seconds — no red lights or sirens. They can fly straight through and immediately get eyes on the situation. That was just another advantage for us to continue exploring this option.” Additionally, what the city experienced last summer with social unrest persuaded Ayana to take his appeal to the chief, the mayor and the city council. Ayana, who’s been an officer for 15 years, said in his experience, 911 callers give unreliable information because they’re stressed or excited. Depending on the information the dispatcher receives and relays, it primes the officer toward a particular response. “No one knows what a cop faces truly except for another cop,” he said. “If they believe there’s a deadly weapon, they’re primed for a potential assault.” A drone, meanwhile, can report actual details from the scene, including if there is a weapon or if it’s holstered. “Drones can give information so (an officer) can make a more appropriate response.” For example, a 911 caller’s report of a suspicious person may just be profiling, and sending a patrol car puts the citizen on defense. However, sending a drone first can accomplish the same mission with less confrontation. “The drone is going to tell the ground unit what to expect — it’s like ‘Big Brother eyes in the sky,’ but I believe when used responsibly, it will create safer communities and better police-citizen relationships.” Each situation is different, but the drone would largely observe a scene before reporting back without interacting with a person. It would also give the department an advantage to see around corners and whether someone there has a weapon, which would elicit a different response from the officer. Ayana had the opportunity to go to Chula Vista for a week and saw a lot of its department’s video footage, including where a suspect was running from officers and threw away a weapon or drugs. Without the drone, that gun or drugs might not have been recovered, leaving the potential for a small child to find it instead. Ayana also mentioned the environmental benefits of drones over calling for a helicopter. There’s no jet fuel cost as the drones are battery operated and continually rechargeable, which means there are no carbon emissions.


Cpl. Justin Miller of the Wilmington, N.C., Police Department is one available drone pilot. Here, he is shown operating a drone the department uses for investigative reconstruction purposes, among others. (Photo provided)

Pictured is one of the Wilmington, N.C.’s, drones — a Matrice 200 series. The department has a multiagency agreement with three other departments with its shared drone unit. (Photo provided)

They also can help with traffic safety, as the responding patrol officers get information from the drone, so they know whether to go full-out lights and sirens or have a slower response. “We don’t have the budget to buy a helicopter, but we can buy a drone,” he said. Cost versus benefits Speaking of costs, Ayana estimates the initial cost to launch Brookhaven’s program was about $50,000 to $60,000. That cost includes the department’s main first responder drone — Matrice 300 series — with a total cost of $24,000 to $25,000, which includes the drone, a thermal camera with 200 times optical zoom ($10,000), spotlight and loudspeaker; a drone used for crime scene photos at the cost of approximately $3,000; a smaller one for training $500-$600; another

drone that also has thermal capabilities at approximately $6,000; and the first year of software for $18,000. After the initial cost, he anticipates an annual cost of $18,000 to $23,000 a year for software and maintenance. As a comparison, the purchase of a new patrol car with a police package is about $30,000. Ayana said the department would be tracking all data, including response time, the number of calls responded to and when an officer was not needed to respond. Ayana has read a report that stated operating a drone is one-tenth the cost of operating a ground unit. Brookhaven used some COVID relief fund money to pay for about 60% to 70% of the cost for their drone program. Wilmington applied for a Department of Justice grant in May, which included funding for eight more drones, with the thought it would help officers socially distance and save on PPE supplies, but according to Letson, the portion of the grant that would pay for the drones is on hold. Letson added the cost versus benefits of the drone program is definitely measurable. As for the challenges and concerns Brookhaven faced, Ayana said the number one concern was the right to privacy. “The innuendo of ‘Big Brother is watching’ — we tell them our drone is not a surveillance tool. It’s only going to respond to calls for service. We’re not going to be out there looking for people. If you see our drone, it was called,” he said, adding the video footage will be maintained like body cam footage and citizens can submit a request to the police department for the footage. “We’re going to be very transparent,” Ayana said, noting the department has to submit monthly reports to the FAA as to where and why the drones flew. “We have a good relationship with our community, and we’re trying to put everything we can from a policy perspective to put safeguards in.” Lessons and advice Letson said future challenges for Wilmington’s department are continuing education and keeping up with the FAA as it consistently grows and quickly changes regulations. “We have to adjust accordingly,” he said. “One thing I’d recommend is to make sure your policies and procedures are reviewed by your legal department, so there are no Fourth Amendment violations, and that should alleviate any public concerns, which is the biggest battle.

Brookhaven, Ga.’s, officer Travis Flynn holds a DJiiMatrice 200 Enterprise drone during a training exercise with Nathaniel Washington. (Photo provided)

If you can educate, inform and be transparent, those are the largest hurdles for any agency.” Ayana thinks a drone is a logical solution for any size police department when looking at cost versus benefit, but it depends on the priorities. “Our city council provides us the means to do the best job, and technology is at the forefront,” he said. “If you have leadership that understands that, it won’t be a problem, but if you have to fight for everything and if your relationship with your community is questionable, it’ll be harder to sell.” 

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M Focus on: Public Safety

Partnerships become key when serving amusement parks

By JANET PATTERSON | The Municipal

When a person thinks about the local fire department, images of fighting building or brush fires, rescuing victims from a rushing river or educating school children about fire safety often come to mind. But in a municipality where there is an amusement park, add to that images of rescues from roller coasters, water rides and dark spaces designed to thrill visitors. While the larger theme parks like Disney World and Universal Studios may have a fleet of equipment and personnel to manage most of the fire and rescue needs of the theme park, fire departments in places like Gurnee, Ill., and Sandusky, Ohio, are called on to handle emergencies at theme parks in their districts. John Kavanagh is the chief of the fire department in the village of Gurnee, north 30   THE MUNICIPAL  |  APRIL 2021

of Chicago. His department protects 60,000 full-time residents in a 30-square-mile area, part of which is Six Flags Great America, a 300-acre amusement park that opened in 1976 and attracts about 3 million visitors a year. In addition to the thrill rides and family entertainment within the park, Six Flags also has a water park, Hurricane Harbor. “The majority of our calls from the park are for an ambulance to transport from the first-aid center,” Kavanagh said of medical emergencies like a fall or heat exhaustion. Since all the 48 full-time firefighters in the

ABOVE: Sandusky, Ohio, is home to Cedar Point and an expansive Lake Erie shoreline with several marinas. For this reason, its fire department has 14 rescue divers as well as a fireboat. (gg_stock/Shutterstock.com)

department are also licensed paramedics, the Gurnee Village Fire Department handles both fire and rescue situations. “We don’t have to handle rescues very often fortunately,” he said, but added there was a day a few years ago when a load of visitors was stuck upside down on one of the park’s roller coasters. “Hopefully, that’s a once in a career occurrence.” Kavanagh noted serving the park is a team effort that includes people with different skills from not only his department but neighboring fire departments as well as Six Flags employees. “It’s really all about

Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Ill., is served by the Gurnee Village Fire Department, which handles both fire and rescue situations that occur in the park. (Eden, Janine and Jim via Flickr.com; https://bit.ly/3bIKRhk)

partnerships,” he said, explaining the working relationship that his department has with the park personnel. “They are very open to us.” Park personnel, he said, “understand the rides.” This is important for those rare emergencies involving the simplest carousel to the hightech large coasters and other thrill rides. The fire department’s job is to work with the Six Flags staff to make sure the park’s layout and amenities are safe for visitors. “We do two inspections a year in addition to the state inspecting the rides. We also do walkthrough inspections three to four times a year since there are always changes happening.” This evolution of special events like Fright Fest, which generally keeps the park open on weekends from mid-September to Nov. 1, and new attractions keeps everyone on their toes, Kavanagh said. The addition of attractions and new rides has been a rich part of the 150-year history of Cedar Point on the shores of Lake Erie in Sandusky. Interim fire chief Jim Green, a 31-year veteran of the Sandusky Fire Department, recalls when the massive new roller coaster, the Magnum, opened in 1989. The coaster was promoted as the fastest and steepest complete-circuit coaster with a first hill that was more than 200-feet high. “There is a turn called the pretzel that heads out toward the beach. When the ride first opened, the wind coming off the lake would slow the cars down, and if the wind was strong enough, the cars could get stuck in the turn.” That, he said, led to a couple of those high-angle rescues that fire departments train for. 

Gurnee Village Fire Department does two inspections a year at Six Flags, which is in addition to the state inspecting the rides. Members of the department also do walkthrough inspections three to four times a year since there are always changes happening. Pictured is Six Flags’ Vertical Velocity coaster. (Eden, Janine and Jim via Flickr.com; https://bit.ly/3bIKRhk) APRIL 2021  |  THE MUNICIPAL  31

continued from page 31

In addition to the quick action of the fire department, Cedar Point immediately made adjustments that stopped any further incidents on the Magnum. With the addition of a water park to Cedar Point and the attraction of the Lake Erie beach on the property, water rescue has been an important part of the services provided to the park. The Sandusky department has 14 rescue divers as well as a fireboat. “Besides Cedar Point, we have a number of marinas in the area, so the fireboat is important for that.” He explained all the department’s 47 career firefighters are trained to “operationally” prepare and hook up any equipment that might be needed for both wet and dry rescues. “But our tech guys are the ones who actually do the rescues.” Green said his department has been trained through courses at Cleveland State University in technical rescue, which includes vehicle extrication, confined space rescue, rope rescue, trench rescue, structural collapse rescue, water rescue and wilderness search and rescue. Cedar Point increases the population of 29,000 permanent residents in the nearly 15-square-mile area around Sandusky by 30,000 to 50,000 residents during the May to October period when Cedar Point is open. Both the Gurnee and the Sandusky fire departments keep close tabs on the changes that a new season may bring. “We always look at all of the gates and get familiar with which ones will accommodate the equipment and which are closest to certain areas of the park,” Green said. 


Members of the Sandusky Fire Department have always familiarized themselves with gates at Cedar Park so they know which ones will accommodate their equipment. Knowing the layout of the park has always been an important consideration. (David McGill 71/ Shutterstock.com)

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M Focus on: Public Safety By MAGGIE KENWORTHY | The Municipal

Wiregrass Public Safety Center offers unique community aspect The Wiregrass Public Safety Center in Dothan, Ala., first opened its doors in January 2020. But unlike many other safety centers around the country, it’s believed to be the first of its kind because it offers a unique community aspect.

“The mission behind it is to train first responders and for the community to actually come out here and to be a part of the training,” explained WPSC Executive Coordinator Jason Wright. “There are police training facilities all over the country, there are fire training facilities all over the country, but there are very, very few that have everything on one campus. Once you step foot here, it doesn’t matter if you’re EMS, police or fire — everything out here is dual-use and multipurpose.” The idea for this 25-acre, $25 million facility originated around four years ago. The Dothan Police Department was landlocked and needed to expand its shooting range. Around the same time, it was discovered the Dothan Fire Department was also landlocked when it came to their training location. This is when the local Wiregrass Foundation got involved. “We are a health legacy foundation. We’re a private foundation and we’re governed by a board, and we do grantmaking, community initiatives and organizational development with our nonprofits in the community,” said Troy Fountain, president of the Wiregrass Foundation. “We focus on the areas of health, education and quality of life. Having a sound and trained first responder sector of society is huge for quality of life; it fit in our mission in that regard.” Since the foundation is focused on the community as a whole, the board wanted this center to include a community aspect. “We felt like leveraging the safety center as an opportunity for our community and our police to learn from each other and to coexist was a huge benefit,” said Fountain. “The strength of our community is its people, and that can sound trite, or commonplace, TOP LEFT: The Wiregrass Public Safety Center has a 25-acre campus consisting of multipurpose buildings and props. (Photo provided by the Wiregrass Public Safety Center) BOTTOM LEFT: There are multiple shooting ranges on campus for police and community training. (Photo provided by the Wiregrass Public Safety Center)


but it’s really evident in what is happening with the safety center … It’s an incredible collaboration between our fire, police, city governance, the foundation and our citizenry as a whole — (it shows) what can happen when people collaborate and work together.” Thanks to a large amount of funding and extensive planning, the WPSC has everything needed to accommodate training for emergency departments and the local community. The campus includes a 28,000-square-foot administration building; a live-fire shoot house; a sniper range; an outdoor pistol range; a driving track; a simulation house with movable walls and video simulators; a strip mall building with reconfigurable walls; a canine building; a pond with a sunken vehicle; a collapsed structure; burn buildings; and a railroad system. Each of these elements serves multiple purposes and can be used for a large variety of training. For example, the driving track isn’t just used for training with police or fire vehicles. “The city of Dothan can bring garbage truck drivers or sanitation drivers, and they can practice picking up trash cans. They can teach people how to drive a bus out here, they can teach people how to drive a fire truck, how to drive a police car, how to drive a zero-turn lawnmower,” explained Wright. “It’s a city facility that’s not specifically just for first responders.” Members of the community can request to use the facility for their specific training requirements. With the reconfigurable walls inside the strip mall, it can be arranged to simulate a hotel lobby, gas station or a bank. A bank could bring in their employees and train their employees on what to do in the event of an armed robbery. The WPSC also hosts community training sessions and seminars. These include general CPR and first-aid classes and more specific classes like Rape Aggression Defense classes for women. Since the facility has only been open for about a year, there is still a lot of exploration about what other community services it can offer. For example, this summer, it is planning on hosting a Wiregrass Public Safety Summer Academy. This will include 20 children between the ages of 16 and 18 years old exploring the careers of a first responder. “The first week, half of them will do police and the other half will do fire. And then the

Fire departments from Dothan and around the world can take advantage of the two live burn buildings on campus. (Photos provided by the Wiregrass Public Safety Center)

second week, they will swap to find out, ‘Do you really want to dip your toes into this career field?’” explained Wright. “We’re going to put them through live-fire scenarios, we’re gonna put them through traffic stop scenarios, crime scene scenarios, anything that touches either department; they’re going to actually have hands-on training. Instead of learning in the classroom, they’re gonna learn hands-on.”

With all that activity going on, the center has been extremely busy in the first year, despite the hardships COVID-19 caused. In fact, people from 26 different states have attended training sessions at WPCS so far. Wright estimates the center held over 150 separate classes in 2020 and hosted over 2,000 visitors. “I would venture to say this is probably one of the best public-private partnerships in the country,” said Wright.  APRIL 2021  |  THE MUNICIPAL  35


Personality Profile

West Jordan police officer Kim Waelty calls her career a blessing By JULIE YOUNG | The Municipal

When Kim Waelty joined the West Valley, Utah, police department over 25 years ago, she longed for an exciting career that would allow her to make a difference in the lives of the people she served. “I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself, so I considered becoming either a police officer or a firefighter, both of which were less than traditional career paths for a woman,” she said. “In the end, I became a police officer and discovered my passion.” Waelty is a highly trained, experienced investigator who worked in a variety of departments before spending 10 years fighting for the community’s youngest citizens as a member of the Special Victims Unit. In addition to working on human trafficking and internet crimes against children cases, she was a part of the team that investigated the 2009 disappearance of Susan Powell — a high-profile case making national headlines and being featured on ABC’s 20/20. Daring to care Powell was a 28-year-old mother of two who was reported missing on Dec. 7, after her husband Josh and their two sons embarked on a winter camping trip to Simpson Springs in western Utah. Waelty was the forensic interviewer who spoke to the couple’s 4-year-old son about his mother’s whereabouts and learned, although Susan had

LEFT: Waelty has been in law enforcement for over 25 years, serving in several positions including as a member of the West Valley City Police Department’s Special Victims Unit. Her current role as West Jordan Police Department’s D.A.R.E. officer has proven rewarding, with her enjoying her interactions with students. (Photo provided) 36   THE MUNICIPAL  |  APRIL 2021

Officer Kim Waelty with West Jordan Police Department loves interacting with children in her role as Drug Abuse Resistance Education program officer. Here, she passes out “keepin’ it REAL” program booklets. (Photo provided)

accompanied her family on the camping trip, she had not returned with them. Investigators also discovered traces of Susan’s blood on the floor of the family home and a handwritten note from Susan that stated she was afraid for her life. Neither Susan nor her body has ever been located, and in 2012, Josh took his own life as well as the lives of his two young sons in a horrific murder-suicide. “That was hard,” Waelty said about the Powell case. “I was coming up on the end of my time in the Special Victims Unit and had spent years watching kids being abused in horrible ways, but that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It really took a toll on me.” Waelty left the West Valley City Police Department for the West Jordan Police Department, where she was a part-time background investigator before returning to the force on a full-time basis. Today, she runs the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program at a local elementary school, where she continues to make a difference in young children’s lives every day. “I positively love what I do,” she said. “My office is in the school, so I get to interact with kids all the time, but it’s not the painful side of things, so I get to enjoy it more. It’s one of the most rewarding positions I have ever been in.” On any given day, Waelty can be found collaborating with educators on how to guide students away from harmful substances, chatting with students in the lunchroom or helping the cafeteria staff clean tables when the students have gone back to class. If someone needs help opening their milk carton or tying his or her shoes, “Officer Kim” is only too happy to help. “One student saw me wiping down tables after their lunch period, and she asked, ‘Officer Kim, are you sure you are a real police officer?’ When I told her that I was, she wanted to know why I was wiping down the tables,” Waelty laughed. “That’s what I love about what I do. The students, many of which are minority boys and girls, get to see me as a real person, see that I am approachable and, hopefully, see themselves in me.”

West Jordan Police Lt. Rich Bell said Waelty was chosen to be a D.A.R.E. educator because she shows great compassion and understanding for the people she serves. “Kim possesses the innate ability to connect with people of different ages, backgrounds and walks of life,” he said. That ability to connect extends to her desire to give kids a chance to see police and people of color working and collaborating with each other in a professional setting. Last year, she worked with an African American fifth grade teacher to create a dynamic program designed to engage the kids. While the two did not emphasize their partnership during the program, they told students the importance of what they had witnessed when the kids graduated. “We told them that it was important to work together and that you don’t have to choose sides,” she said. Recognition for her work Last January, Waelty was presented with the NAACP First Responder Award for her work with kids in the West Jordan community to help them succeed. Bell said Waelty is an asset to the department as well as the community at large. “The only way to effectively maintain order, safety and effectively police a community is to have the trust and support of those we serve,” said Lt. Bell. “I am grateful to her for the time and effort she puts forth and feel she deserves to be recognized for the significant positive impact she is having within the West Jordan community.” Waelty said she was thrilled to be chosen by her superiors for the honor and grateful she is able to interact with children in such a positive way. “If you can help children grow up with a healthy respect for law enforcement while still showing compassion and kindness to your fellow man, then all of my efforts are worth it. Every day I am blessed to be around these kids, see the love in their eyes and feel their appreciation. Not a lot of officers get that. How did I get this lucky?” she asked.  APRIL 2021 | THE MUNICIPAL  37

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Fleet Services & Maintenance

Rock Creek Fire District receives ladder truck through DOD firefighter program By MAGGIE KENWORTHY | The Municipal

In January, the Rock Creek Fire Protection District in Kimberly, Idaho, received a 2003 Pierce Ladder Truck through the Department of Defense Firefighter Property Program, free of cost. This apparatus would typically cost around $1.3 million new or around $500,000 used.

Fire departments across the U.S. are using the Department of Defense Firefighter Property Program to secure much needed equipment, including apparatuses like ladder trucks. (Shutterstock.com)


The ladder truck consists of a 105-foot ladder with a basket that can be used in a wide variety of situations by the department. This is the first ladder truck the department has owned. (Photo provided by the Idaho Department of Lands)

This program involves procuring surplus property from the DOD and distributing it to local agencies. The U.S. Forest Service oversees it, and the Department of Lands runs the Idaho program. “The original acquisition cost or value of the property acquired is over $60 million since 2013,” said Pat Brown, Eastern Area manager for the Idaho Department of Lands. “The military uses everything that we use in the civilian world, so they have commercially built fire apparatus like the ladder truck that we got for Rock Creek. And under that program, we acquire the property for a fire department; we transfer it to them. They have one year to get it into service … Then once it has been in service for one full year, then they get free and clear ownership of it.” The Rock Creek Fire Protection District serves approximately 212 square miles in eastern Twin Falls County and northwestern Cassia County. The department consists of Fire Chief Aaron Zent, seven full-time firefighters, four part-time employees and 28 volunteers. Like many rural fire departments, Rock Creek didn’t have the budget for an apparatus of this cost. “We’re fortunate for us to not have to come up with that kind of money,” said Zent. “This truck is a great truck that fills a lot of needs. It is a 105-foot ladder truck that has a basket on it, which can be used for many different purposes, whether that’s rescuing people who are on a second-story window or it can be used for ventilation on one-story, two-story houses or commercial buildings. It also has a water cannon on top of it that sprays 1,000 gallons every minute. We didn’t have anything that had the capabilities to do that before this truck, nor did we have a ladder … so this fills a huge void for the department.” This particular truck was stationed at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. Once the Department of Defense pulled the truck out of service, IDL was able to claim it for Rock Creek. According to Zent, the department had been on a waiting list for around two years before getting the call that they could go pick up their new truck. “We went to check out the apparatus, just to find out what condition it was in, whether we could drive it home or whether we’d have to hire a semi to have it towed home,” explained Zent. “When we checked it out, it was in great condition. It had very, very low miles and was actually in much better condition than we thought it would be. So we jumped in the truck and drove it home. Really the only thing it needed was a tank of gas.”

The above photograph was taken the same day Rock Hill Fire Protection District picked the ladder truck up from Hill Air Force Base. The apparatus still features the United States Air Force name on the side of it. (Photo provided by the Idaho Department of Lands)

Besides the tank of gas, Zent estimates the department will have to put a maximum of $10,000 worth of equipment into the truck, including a fire hose, to get it up and running. From there, it will take some time to train all employees on how to properly use the truck as the department hasn’t had a ladder truck in the past. The goal is to have the truck completely outfitted and the staff trained by July 1. “IDL did a great job on securing the truck for us,” said Zent. “Without the help of the Idaho Department of Lands, this would not have been possible.” The Rock Creek Fire Protection District isn’t the only department to receive a ladder truck recently through this program. The Gooding Rural Fire Department received a truck in February and the Burley Fire Department received one in 2020. The Department of Defense Firefighter Property Program provides departments with everything from office chairs and stretchers to even cargo trucks that can be retrofitted into a firefighting apparatus. The high-ticket items like ladder trucks are in less supply and can be harder to claim. In a normal year, the IDL claims around 15 to 20 trucks of varying types. “For commercial apparatus, there’s a long waiting list. For military trucks, like a 5-ton cargo truck or a 2 1/2-ton cargo truck, those come through the system fairly often and in pretty good condition,” said Brown. The Department of Defense Firefighter Property Program is a national program, and each state can choose to participate. Departments wanting to participate in this program should contact their state’s natural resource management division or department and ask if they have a federal excess personal property program. “The states that do participate — and the bulk of them do, I believe — they want participation from local fire departments,” said Brown. “As a community, it’s vital. We all have a responsibility to help each other in my mind. Local government entities, the volunteer fire departments, those are all a subunit of the state of Idaho. Whatever we can do to build up those emergency response resources helps all of us.”  APRIL 2021 | THE MUNICIPAL  41


Streets, Highways & Bridges

Pedestrian bridge reconstruction

By DANI MESSICK | The Municipal

After several years with pedestrians having no safe passage from the west side of downtown to the east, an improved bridge reopened in the summer of 2020 to benefit the city of Rockford. “It was a safety issue,” said Rockford Park District Capital Asset Manager Mark Smith. “The bridge is used a lot. It’s right downtown, and it offers transportation for pedestrians to reach one side of downtown to the other side so they can do shopping, go to stores, (etc). It (does) not just help pedestrians, it helps the economy.” The pedestrian bridge, roughly 700 feet long, is a main thoroughfare for bicyclists and pedestrians seeking to pass over the Rock River for Rockford, which has a population of just under 150,000. “I work downtown, just next to where the pedestrian bridge is, and I know that I regularly used it as a citizen to get to the other side for lunches or shopping as well as the Rockford City Market on Friday nights,” said Sydney Turner, director of regional planning for R1. “Being able to walk comfortably from where I work on the west side of the river to the east side where there’s commercial and cultural aspects is really important.” Constructed in 1988, the Jefferson Street pedestrian bridge was unpainted steel but 42   THE MUNICIPAL | APRIL 2021

The bridge sections were floated into place before being suspended. (Photo provided)

supposed to last for many years, Smith explained. As was intended, the bridge developed an acceptable rust look, but in 2015, the bridge had to be closed because portions of it had begun deteriorating at a faster rate than expected. “There was salt and water and other things coming onto the bridge from the street above that contributed to its demise, besides the fact that we, the Park District, were salting the pedestrian bridge in the wintertime,” Smith explained. “It seemed to be a popular thing back then, to leave the steel unpainted. It seemed to be less maintenance. Every few years, you’d have to paint, so they were trying this new system of weathered steel where you don’t paint it, and it turns a rust color and just stays like that, but in this situation, there was additional salt and so forth; it didn’t last.”

The Rockford Park District is a separate entity from the city of Rockford and thus its own taxing body. “I want to stress the importance of collaboration in this,” Smith explained. The Rockford Park District worked with the city of Rockford; the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program; the Illinois Department of Transportation; the Region 1 Planning Council; and Larson & Darby Group’s design team to fund, build and design the new project. “The more people you get involved, the more support you’re going to get and the less problems you’ll have down the road.” The Region 1 Planning Council received the Rockford Park District’s proposal during a call for projects after receiving a grant from the state.

a key element for downtown Rockford’s economy ABOVE: The pedestrian bridge under the Jefferson Street Bridge has been a popular and safe way for people to cross the Rock River and explore eating and cultural opportunities since 1988. The bridge had to be closed in 2015 due to deterioration but was recently reopened in 2020. (Shutterstock.com)

“Knowing that it was a pivotal connection point for bicyclists and pedestrians in our region, we made the recommendation to our technical and policy committees to fund the project,” Turner said. It was an ITEP grant that ultimately allowed the Rockford Park District to restore the bridge. Smith attributes their success in replacing the bridge with the money from the ITEP grant. “There is no way we could have replaced the bridge in the small amount of time that we had with the cost of $2.5 million ourselves,” he said. The 80/20 grant made it so the park district would contribute $500,000 and ITEP would fund the additional $2 million. In 2019, with the help of IDOT since Jefferson Street is a state road, construction began on the new pedestrian bridge. This time around the city and the hired design team made the decision to coat the bridge in marine paint to better protect it from the seasonal damage. They also installed canopies that function similar to gutters to catch the water and divert it directly into the river below. “I think those two things combined are addressing the issues we had with the original bridge,” Smith said.

Workers prepare to place one section of the new pedestrian bridge. This time the bridge was painted using a marine paint to better protect it from the seasonal damage. (Photo provided)

Another upgrade to the bridge was the lighting system. When it was initially constructed, the lights on the pedestrian bridge were halogen-based. Given the amount of energy halogen lights use, the design team at Larson & Darby decided to update the lighting to LED to reduce energy costs. One of the most fascinating parts of the newly constructed bridge is the theme created by the design team, which further incorporated a natural theme into the bridge — beyond the water-diverting canopies — with railings covered in painted steel leaves. “A lot of pedestrians were upset when we closed it and didn’t really understand why,” Smith said. “We made sure we reached out to the city and different entities to educate them on what was happening with the bridge, and

the more people that understood, that word got spread out and people who used it and depended on it understood and weren’t quite as upset as they were in the beginning.” While the Jefferson Street Bridge, which transports vehicles directly above the pedestrian bridge has a walking path, it’s not a safe alternative and shutting down the pedestrian bridge for safety was a difficult decision for community leaders. Now that it has reopened and regaining use, the city is beginning to benefit again from its use. Turner added the library, which is currently under construction, also leads directly to the bridge. “A lot of people use that bridge, and it’s really important to our downtown.” 


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Public Works

Buffalo Grove restructures public works to spark innovation A suburb about 30 miles north of Chicago, Buffalo Grove, Ill., is a relatively young United States village with a population of a little more than 40,000. It was incorporated in 1958. Thus, much of its infrastructure is just over 60 years old and needs to be updated in the coming half-decade.


By ANDREW MENTOCK | The Municipal

To prepare for such an overhaul, Buffalo Grove recently restructured its public works department after Director Mike Reynolds retired. The hope is the reorganization will simulate innovation. “We had a model with a director of public works; there was a deputy in charge of the operation side and then a village engineer in charge of engineering,” said Mike Skibbe, the recently named director of public works and the former deputy director. “It was a two-pronged approach there. One of the things we wanted to do in the reorganization was restructure public works for the big projects that are coming up in the future. “Here in Buffalo Grove we are entering our first major phase of utility replacements. So that’s water and sewer replacements, (and) major road infrastructure needs to be fixed. We have an overall infrastructure modernization program that’s kicked off. That’ll be about $175 million of investment in infrastructure here over the next five years.” Under Skibbe will be the new Assistant Director Kyle Johnson, who is a former civil engineer, a profession that will give him a unique perspective and insight into the best ways to revamp Buffalo Grove’s water, sewer and drainage utilities. “He’s really going to continue to lead that infrastructure modernization program moving forward,” Skibbe said. “That was one of the larger areas we wanted to address.” Another part of the reorganization was adjusting the role of village engineer Darren Monico. In addition to a focus on engineering and development, a key responsibility for Monico will be communicating with outside agencies, residents and others. For instance, it’s important for Buffalo Grove to implement innovative technology into its infrastructure. One way the public works department has already done this is through a partnership with the Chicago-based company Exelon to install its Aquify water monitor system into the Buffalo Grove’s water utilities. “Aquify is really helping us take machine learning and AI into our water utility system to monitor for leaks 24/7,” Skibbe said. “We’ve seen a lot of success in identifying leaks a lot sooner and a lot quicker than we would normally be able to spot them just by waiting for him to say pop up on the ground.” Lastly, Brett Robinson, the former purchasing manager, was promoted to administrative services director. A major catalyst for the restructuring was for the $175 million infrastructure modernization program the village board got behind. This is the result of focusing on the next 20 years of Buffalo Grove’s water, sewer and road systems. “We’re pretty proud that Buffalo Grove is taking a long-range look at our infrastructure needs,” Skibbe said. “It’s not unique that Buffalo Grove has infrastructure needs, it’s not unique that Buffalo Grove has to replace infrastructure or rehab infrastructure.

LEFT: Buffalo Grove, Ill., restructured its public works department in preparation for a series of infrastructure overhauls, which will occur over the next half-decade. Pictured is the Village Hall’s buffalo statue, all decked out in safety precautions. (Photo provided)

Buffalo Grove Director of Public Works Mike Skibbe

Major road infrastructure repairs are a part of Buffalo Grove’s $175 million infrastructure modernization program. Water and sewer replacements are also planned. (Photo provided) “What’s different, though, is we see in a lot of the surrounding communities that they might issue bonds to cover things for five years and hope the economy improves, or their tax situation improves, or something sort of changes in the future. So they take these sort of short-term, fiveyear outlooks. In Buffalo Grove, we took a couple of steps to get there. A major one was our capital improvement plan.” Thus far, Buffalo Grove’s public works department has transitioned to its new organizational hierarchy in a relatively seamless manner. It appears much of this has to do with promoting talented people from within, rather than shaking up the entire department with outside hires. “One of the great things about the reorganization was we were able to tap into our existing talent pool,” Skibbe said. “The faces are familiar. The folks who got promoted had been here for quite a number of years. It really allowed us to focus on what functions need to shift and change, and what job duties might change. But it’s not bringing completely new people into the fold to do that. “We’re pretty proud of the leadership development that we’ve been able to do with our folks and with our staff to ease that transition.”


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Parks & Environmental Services

City pools and beaches adapt to COVID By AMANDA DEMSTER | The Municipal

Swimming is a favorite summertime activity, but when the COVID-19 pandemic stretched into June, July and then August last year, cities nationwide faced unique challenges when it came to staffing their municipal pools and beaches. Many simply closed altogether. While parks and recreation departments have a better idea of what to expect this year, staffing public pools and beaches continues to present challenges, particularly when it comes to interacting safely with patrons. Sedona, Ariz. The municipal pool in Sedona is open Memorial Day weekend through October. Sedona Recreation and Aquatics Supervisor Dawn Norman noted pool staffing is based largely on usage, with some activities calling for more staff members on duty and some calling for fewer. During a typical year, the city employs between 18 and 20 lifeguards and pool staff. 50   THE MUNICIPAL | APRIL 2021

Last year, Norman said they had nine. “During the pandemic, per county health code and the governor’s orders, our capacity was reduced from the normal 350 to 50,” she said. “This number includes all on deck, so staff is counted, too.” With these limitations, the department decided to focus on bringing back returning lifeguards for 2020, rather than bringing in new ones. This allowed it to focus more on COVID training. “There are so many safety protocols and responsibilities that fall on the lifeguards, to add COVID to the mix really adds pressure and higher levels of stress to their responsibilities,” Norman said. “For a new guard with no experience, this would be overwhelming.”

LEFT: With a backdrop to envy, Sedona, Ariz.’s, municipal pool is a popular destination to cool off in during the summer. During the 2020 swim season, it reduced hours, and while on deck, visitors and lifeguards wore masks, though patrons could remove them if socially distanced. Pictured is lifeguard Winston on duty. (Photo provided) RIGHT: Panama City Beach Fire Rescue members train at the pool. During the 2020 season, employees had medical checks every morning and afternoon. Employees showing any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 were placed on leave. (Photo provided)

As far as training, the department had to make significant changes to its procedures. “I was so thankful that our facility is a StarGuard Elite training facility,” Norman said. “StarGuard provided me with the tools and changes needed in order to be able to certify our staff.” Trainees were required to wear a mask at all times while on deck. Equipment and mannequins were assigned to each individual and not shared; they were also frequently disinfected. As much training was moved online as was practical. To participate in in-person training, lifeguards received temperature checks and could not exhibit any signs of illness. “Unfortunately, due to the nature of the position … lifeguards have to perform and train lifesaving skills that require in-water and close proximity,” Norman said. The pool reopened June 8, 2020, and was one of the few in the area to do so. Because of this, Sedona saw an increase in people from out of town coming to use its pool. “People were very anxious to be able to swim and be outdoors due to the shutdown,” Norman said. COVID guidelines allowed the department to collect accurate usage data, unlike before, when counts were based on transactions. In 2020, 688 unique users came to the pool. When repeat visits are factored in, it totaled more than 3,600, down from approximately 8,500 in a normal year. This was the result of a number of factors. For starters, pool hours were reduced from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., six days a week, during a normal year to 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., five days a week, during the pandemic. Numbers for activities like recreational swimming, AquaFit and adult lap swim were greatly limited to allow for social distancing. Anyone wishing to use the pool needed to register and check in online, wear a mask if they were older than age 5 and undergo a temperature check and health screening when they arrived. Of course, face masks did not need to be worn in the water, and patrons on deck were allowed to remove their masks, provided they adhered to social distancing guidelines. While the department continued offering some of its usual activities, others had to be cut for 2020 — like swim lessons, one of the biggest revenue generators for the pool. “I’m hoping that we will be able to offer lessons this season, not because of the revenue, but because of the importance of education it provides to both the kids and parents relating to water safety,” Norman said.

Between sessions, staff disinfected everything. Locker rooms, showers and changing rooms were closed and drinking fountains were shut down, though bottle filling stations remained available. These guidelines remain in effect at this time. Panama City Beach, Fla. Panama City Beach has both a public swimming facility and a public beach. Both have been affected by pandemic-related changes. Panama City Beach Fire Rescue handles lifeguard duties for the public beach. “We staff five full-time lifeguards in our agency, and they are complemented with members of our newly formed Aquatic Rescue Response Team, seasonal and part-time lifeguards,” Deputy Fore Chief Justin Busch said. The Beach Safety Division oversees more than 9 miles of beachfront, serving approximately 4.5 million beachgoers. Public interaction comes with the territory. Stats for 2020 show the division responded to 200 medical emergencies, rescued 114 swimmers, performed 61,000 preventative actions and participated in 450 public assists. In all, they had approximately 370,000 public contacts, Busch said. This much interaction may make social distancing impossible at times, but the department had strict regulations in place in adherence to CDC guidelines. It would also be impossible to perform these actions without a welltrained team in place. While the number of open positions remained the same, the number of applications was smaller. However, Busch said whether this was due to the pandemic is more speculation than known fact. While hiring practices did not change for 2020, operating procedures did. “We’ve had to be somewhat fluid with the changes that come out from the CDC,” Busch said. “We try to maintain what they suggest as far as guidelines, 6 feet of distance and wearing a mask.” Employees undergo a medical check every morning and afternoon, answering questions about symptoms and receiving a temperature check. Employees showing any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are placed on leave. At the same time, while full-time employees receive paid time off, missing work can be a burden to those who work part time and seasonally. With this in mind, the city has granted up to 80 hours of paid time off for employees who exhibit COVID symptoms.  APRIL 2021 | THE MUNICIPAL  51

continued from page 51

“Our city has been very generous, making funding available so that the same benefit for having paid time off is available for them,” Busch said. When it comes to interaction with the public, the Beach Safety Division patrols the beaches in pickup trucks, with one person per vehicle. Of course, masks are required at all of the lifeguard stands “We do all we can on our side to minimize what we’re exposing to the general public,” Busch said. Of course, in an emergency situation, social distancing may be impossible, though masks are still worn. The exception is water rescues, where masks can become waterlogged and pose a danger. When the COVID shutdowns happened in 2020, the beach closed for several months. This year, the city is expecting a large spring break crowd. The challenge will be ensuring everyone adheres to CDC guidelines while using the beach. Thus far, getting beachgoers to follow the guidelines has not been a problem. “Most of the people on the beach appreciate what we’re doing,” Busch said. “They’re understanding to what we’re asking and what the city expects.” As summer 2021 approaches, it is difficult to know what kinds of changes cities will need to make pertaining to their pools and beaches, but cities like Sedona and Panama City Beach will continue tackling these requirements head-on. 

Panama City Beach Fire Rescue employees install a sign explaining what beach warning flags mean while cautioning about the dangers of riptide currents. The sign also notes there is no lifeguard on duty. (Photo provided)

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Building & Construction BY LAUREN CAGGIANO | The Municipal

Port Neches seizes river of opportunity It’s not unusual for a city to make use of its natural resources, like a riverfront. What is unusual, perhaps, is how exactly the city of Port Neches, Texas went about its riverfront development.

In 2005, two tracts of land on the riverfront were acquired by the city. One was the site of an abandoned oil refinery, and the other was home to a marine company. The property was brought up to residential standards. After coming out of the 2008 recession, the city began talks with various stakeholders about what might be next for the land. Fast-forward to today and City Manager Andre Wimer is at the helm. The city, which is south of Beaumont, had acquired the property and began the remediation work prior to his arrival; however, Wimer had followed the project previously, as he worked for a neighboring community at the time. Wimer offers insight into this project’s evolution and future. “We went through conversations with two or three individuals who were interested in developing the site in its entirety,” he said. “But those conversations ended there. Ultimately, the city decided to attempt to redevelop the property in-house. The first development on that site six or seven years ago was a restaurant. That venture has gone exceedingly well and created the additional interest in the site.” According to Wimer, the city sold a smaller parcel of the land to become what is now the Neches River Wheelhouse restaurant, a purveyor of American-style fare and seafood. More recently, Port Neches sold the lion’s share of the land to a commercial firm that plans to build a subdivision there, he said. The city is also in talks with other parties about other potential projects. ABOVE LEFT: Port Neches, Texas, acquired two tracts of land along the Neches River in 2005. Following remediation to bring the property to residential standards, the city sold a small parcel, which was developed into the Neches River Wheelhouse. (Photo provided) BOTTOM LEFT: The Wheelhouse has become a popular addition to the Port Neches community, and it is hoped it will be the first of many developments that will appeal to residents and visitors alike. (Photo provided)


The Neches River Wheelhouse became the first development on the tracts of land purchased by the city of Port Neches. (Photo provided) Pictured is work underway for the Neches River Wheelhouse. Prior to this, the two tracts of land, formerly home to an abandoned oil refinery and a marine company, had to be remediated.

“This is on the tract that included the abandoned refinery the city had remediated to conform with state requirements,” he said. “And so, there’s a subdivision currently under construction that will consist of 100 to 110 homes along the Neches River. The developer is currently in the process of constructing the streets and related infrastructure for that project.” Wimer said the timing is right for such a venture, and it represents an opportunity for the community. With the city being landlocked, the availability of space to do any type of large-scale housing development is limited. The Port Neches-Groves Independent School District offers exceptional quality of education. In his words, “There are many people who are interested in living within the boundaries of that district as a means of affording excellent education for their children.” Beyond the housing piece of the riverfront development project, Wimer said other parties have their eye on joining forces. “In addition to the Wheelhouse, we currently have a letter of intent agreement with a Mexican restaurant that has locations in the Houston area,” he said. “While they have not yet started construction, due to delays related to COVID-19, the project is still proceeding. We’re also currently in conversation with a couple of other groups that have expressed interest in additional restaurants, and it’s likely that they will be moving forward in the next couple of months. That said, Wimer is confident all of these plans on the horizon will result in a more comprehensive and attractive package to appeal to residents and visitors alike. “Adjacent to the development is the city’s largest park, which is heavily utilized and brings more people to the area,” he said. “The eventual addition of other restaurants will create a point of destination and an interest in Port Neches. It’s important to have a draw to bring people to and through the community.”

Pictured are amenities that have been added along the riverfront, connecting the community to it. (Photo provided) Facing the Neches River, Riverfront Park is the city’s largest park covering approximately 27 acres. It contains a play structure, splash park, tennis court and other features. As a hub of recreation, especially in the warmer months, the hope is people will then visit the downtown area by way of the riverfront project. According to Wimer, there’s a successful microbrewery that’s in the process of expanding, for instance. This is in addition to a 1950s-themed ice cream/soda shop and antique stores. “There are a number of places downtown that we think would also benefit from the traffic that will be generated,” he said. 


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Conference Calendar EDITOR’S NOTE: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, readers are encouraged to verify their conference’s status. The Municipal has updated entries’ statuses with information available as of press time; however, as the situation is still fluid, plans may change rapidly.

APRIL April 6-8 The 94th Annual AZ Water Conference & Exhibition Virtual www.azwater.org/group/ annualconference April 6-8 Tennessee Fire Chiefs Spring Conference Park Vista Hotel, Gatlinburg, Tenn. www.tnfirechiefs.com April 11-14 North American Snow Conference (Cancelled, Virtual Learning Experience Planned) Grand Rapids, Mich. snow.apwa.net

April 13-16 Washington Association of Sewer & Water Districts Spring Conference & Trade Show Virtual www.waswd.org/general/page/ workshops-conferences-andtrade-shows April 16-17 The League of Kansas Municipalities Leadership Summit & Kansas Mayors Association Conference (Rescheduled: June 18-19) Lawrence, Kan. www.lkm.org

April 12-15 SWANA S.O.A.R. (Rescheduled June 14-17) Kansas City, Mo. swanasoar.org

April 18-20 Fire Department Training Network Live-Fire Training Camp Indianapolis, Ind. fdtraining.com

April 12-15 and 19-23 TMC Annual 2021 Virtual https://tmcannual.trucking.org/

April 19-22 AASHTO 2021 GIS-T Symposium Virtual https://gis-t.transportation.org

April 12-15 Indiana Section AWWA Annual Conference French Lick Conference Center, French Lick, Ind. www.inawwa.org

April 19-24 FDIC International (Rescheduled: Aug. 19-24) Indiana Convention Center & Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind. www.fdic.com

April 13-15 Oklahoma Rural Water Association 51st Annual Conference (Cancelled) Tulsa, Okla. orwa.org/annual-conference/

April 20-22 North American Snow Conference Virtual https://snow.apwa.net/ April 20-22 2021 South Dakota Joint Chiefs and Sheriffs Spring Conference The Lodge at Deadwood, Deadwood, S.D. www.sdmunicipalleague.org

April 20-22 MSAWWA and MWEA 2021 Joint Conference Great Falls, Mont. www.montanawater.org April 21 Iowa Parks & Recreation Association Conference Virtual iapra.org April 21-23 CityVision 2021 Concord, N.C. www.nclm.org April 23-24 Minnesota State Fire Department Association Conference (Cancelled) Bemidji, Minn. www.msfda.org April 26-29 Ohio Parks and Recreation Association Conference & Trade Show Kalahari Convention Center, Sandusky, Ohio opraonline.org April 27-29 National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner & Symposium Virtual www.cfsi.org April 28-39 Washington Recreation & Park Association Annual Conference & Trade Show Virtual www.wrpatoday.org April 28-30 Colorado City & County Management Association Annual Conference Glenwood Springs, Colo. coloradoccma.org/annualconference/

April 28-May 1 California Association of Recreation and Park Districts Conference 2021 (Rescheduled June 23-26) Monterey, Calif. www.caparkdistricts.org

M AY May 1-2 Wisconsin Professional Police Association 88th Annual Convention Kalahari Resort and Convention Center, Wisconsin Dells, Wis. wppa.com May 2-4 New York State Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting and Training School The Sagamore in Bolton Landing, Bolton Landing, N.Y. www.nycom.org May 2-5 AL/MS Water Joint Annual Conference (Rescheduled: Aug. 1-4) Arthur Outlaw Convention Center, Mobile, Ala. almswater.com May 2-5 AWW & WEA Conference (Rescheduled: Oct. 10-13) Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa, Hot Springs, Ark. awwwea.org May 3-6 Advanced Clean Transportation Expo (Rescheduled: Aug. 30 -Sept. 2) Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, Calif. www.actexpo.com

To list your upcoming conference or seminar in The Municipal at no charge, call (800) 733-4111, ext. 2307, or email the information to swright@the-papers.com. 58   THE MUNICIPAL | APRIL 2021

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Company Profile

Oelo’s colorful lights pull double duty, saving money By AMY SPEER

Calm settles over Tarleton State University. Another bustling day has come to an end as hundreds of lampposts across the Stephenville, Texas, campus wink on to guide lingering students back to their dorms. A purple glow emanates from nine buildings across the 122-year-old campus, accenting some of the university’s most visited buildings.

ABOVE: The North Jefferson County Ambulance District installed permanent holiday lights on its new building. (Photo provided) TOP PHOTO: Oelo permanent structural lighting accents this Tarleton State University building. These lights are tethered to eight other campus facilities, all accented by Oelo cloud-based lighting system. (Photo provided) 60   THE MUNICIPAL | APRIL 2021

The glow is new, an addition that was made in December 2020 when Tarleton Facilities Management and Campus Operations invested in Oelo Permanent Structural Lighting to dazzle students. The patented color-changing lighting system features permanent weather-resistant channels that blend in with the buildings’ exterior, available in acrylic or optional aluminum. Tarleton opted for custom powder-coated aluminum channels for a seamless match. And while Oelo is practically invisible by day, it’s hard to miss at night. Not only can Tarleton accent its structures in Tarleton purple, but campus operations can use the Oelo cloud-based lights to customize 6 million hues and 10 movement settings to celebrate special

occasions, university causes and favorite holidays. The system can also create the iconic white “bulb” look often seen accenting shopping plaza rooflines. And with so many color variations, Oelo pulls double duty as holiday lights whenever the season calls for it. From a management standpoint, Oelo is a no-brainer, helping municipalities eliminate the ongoing time and money it takes grounds crews to hang holiday lights on an annual basis. Featuring a five-year warranty, each system is rated for 100,000 hours of use — the equivalent of 22 years of nightly 12-hour glow. In comparison, LED string lights and neon tube lights are only rated for 10,000 to 40,000 hours. Tarleton’s system features 7,500 lights, 35 power supplies and 14 control units on nine buildings, and while the addition is new to the university, Oelo isn’t a newcomer in the facilities management space. You can find Oelo lighting on community centers, like the Platte Valley Community Center in Wyoming, or on fire and ambulance stations, like the Calabash Fire Department in North Carolina or the North Jefferson County Ambulance District in Missouri. Oelo has also made a name for itself among franchisee owners, becoming a favorite commercial lighting partner on Chick-Fil-A and Human Bean storefronts. “During the holidays, it’s definitely a blessing having this system,” said Human Bean franchisee owner Frank Sherman, who bathes most of his coffee storefronts in Oelo hues. “We don’t have to hire contractors to climb ladders and hang string lights around the building, and after Christmas, they don’t come back to take them down. I don’t like roofs and ladders. The combination creates liability, and it also impacts business. With Oelo, a professional team installs them once, and after that, we enjoy them year-round.” And while Tarleton is a fan of purple hues, Sherman likes rocking pink during Human Bean’s Coffee for a Cure event, a day when the franchise owner pools together 100% of his sales from 10 northern Colorado Human Bean locations to benefit local breast cancer funds. Most years, Sherman raises more than $50,000 to aid his community. The lights, he said, helps create important awareness. Sherman said he stumbled across Oelo when he was building a food truck for his coffee franchise. “I was working with SVI Trucks, an international world-class company that builds emergency vehicles, to build a custom food truck. During the process, we spent a lot of time at the SVI facility, and that’s when we discovered Oelo, one of SVI’s sister companies,” Sherman recalled. “We gave the lights a try, and now, every time we add a store, we’re adding Oelo lights because we know it’s a product backed by a very strong parent company.” In short, Oelo COO Clay Horst said Super Vacuum Manufacturing, Oelo’s parent company, knows the ins and outs of government projects. Incorporated in 1954, Super Vac also has two other divisions that offer specialty lighting products in the emergency vehicle industry. “It’s sort of neat that Oelo was born from that industry,” Horst said. “While sourcing some great LED products for our other divisions, we thought it would be cool to hang these color-changing lights on buildings, and that’s how the idea of permanent holiday lighting was born. Since then, we’ve discovered just how versatile these lights can be in the municipal space.” Some might even say it’s the only kind of structural lighting that keeps on giving — and all without yearly hassle and annual costs.  To learn more about Oelo, visit oelo.com or call 970-212-3670.

The Calabash Fire Department in North Carolina glows Oelo red, white and blue for the Fourth of July. (Photo provided)

Oelo adds a welcoming glow to this library. (Photo provided)

Oelo’s color-changing lights are a great accent to gazebos and other park structures. (Photo provided)


News & Notes XL Fleet partnering with Curbtender to develop all-electric and plug-in hybrid refuse trucks BOSTON, MASS. — XL Fleet Corp. announced it has entered into a strategic partnership with Curbtender. Under the terms of the agreement, XL Fleet and Curbtender will jointly develop a series of battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric commercial trucks for use in waste management applications. The two companies have committed to developing and launching a battery electric refuse vehicle equipped with a XL Electric propulsion system and a Curbtender Quantum rear loader refuse truck body within the next year. The agreement also includes the joint development of plug-in hybrid electric versions of the vehicle, as well as a range of Class 3 to Class 8 vehicle solutions for the waste management industry. Refuse trucks represent a $7 billion market segment within the global commercial fleet industry, with over 62,000 units sold globally in 2018 and growing annually by 4%. Refuse collection trucks travel 25,000 miles annually on average and contribute around 1.4% of the transportation industry’s overall fuel consumption, making them an attractive application for electrification and reflecting a high-impact opportunity to drive decarbonization within the commercial sector. Demand for sustainable vehicle solutions in this market has grown steadily in recent years, and XL Fleet and Curbtender expect to be well positioned to serve that demand through this partnership. Refuse collection vehicles have extremely demanding drive cycles, and both companies are committed to delivering reliable electrified solutions that meet the operating needs of customers while also satisfying their increasingly strict sustainability and cost targets. For information, visit XL Fleet’s Investor Relations website at https:// investors.xlfleet.com.

Stertil-Koni calls in fire department to save Polar Plunge fundraiser STEVENSVILLE, MD. — When the COVID-19 pandemic threatened to disrupt the Maryland State Police Polar Plunge fundraiser recently, a beloved annual tradition enjoyed by Stertil-Koni employees and friends, the company knew exactly who to call — its local fire department. In a normal year, the Polar Plunge hosts hundreds of corporate teams, schools and individual plungers, all diving into the frigid Chesapeake Bay in late January to raise funds for the Special Olympics of Maryland. But this has been anything but a normal year. In an effort to encourage social distancing this year, the Polar Plunge cancelled its beachside party atmosphere and encouraged participants to find creative ways to “plunge” — from homes or offices. Talk about creative, enter heavy-duty vehicle lift leader Stertil-Koni, which prides itself at being a terrific problem-solver for a North American customer base that includes some of the largest transit agencies, trucking firms, airlines, pupil transportation providers, municipalities and even the U.S. military. It’s a chilling thought, but this plucky team of 18 plungers wasn’t about to let the “new normal” dampen their spirits — or their fundraising. And that’s why Kevin Hymers, director of operations at Stertil-Koni, and CPO (Chief Plunging Officer), enlisted the help of the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department. The KIVFD was more than happy to help,


arriving at the Stertil-Koni headquarters with a ladder truck, a tanker truck and a crew of firefighters eagerly awaiting the opportunity to douse the team. As the wind whipped up late on a Friday afternoon while the temperatures dipped, the Stertil-Koni team ran through the water raining down from above. They laughed with glee, or so it seemed. As Hymers noted, “Our group loves to go ‘freezing for a reason.’ A big thanks to the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department, which not only made it possible, they helped keep our Stertil-Koni tradition alive and well.” To learn more about the Maryland State Police Polar Plunge and its cause, the Special Olympics of Maryland, visit plungemd.com.

Three new members elected to Green Truck Association Board of Governors FARMINGTON HILLS, MICH. — NTEA’s Green Truck Association announced the results of its 2021-2022 Board of Governors election. New board members beginning three-year terms in March 2021 include Dominik Beckman, director, marketing and dealer operations for Hino Trucks (Novi, Mich.); Kerri Garvin, executive director of Greater Indiana Clean Cities (Indianapolis, Ind.); and Grant Niebuhr, manager — green fleet for Altec Industries (Elizabethtown, Ky.). The 2021-2022 Board of Governors will transition during the second week of March. Serving as officers will be Chair Scott Phillippi of UPS (Atlanta, Ga.); Vice Chair Paul Kokalis of Fontaine Modification Co. (Charlotte, N.C.); and Treasurer Ed Hoffman of Alliance AutoGas (Swannanoa, N.C.). Meighan Read of Duke Energy (Charlotte, N.C.) will continue as governor at large. 2020-2021 Board Current GTA board officers include Chair Jim Castelaz of Motiv Power Systems (Foster City, Calif.); Vice Chair Scott Phillippi of UPS (Atlanta, Ga.); and Treasurer Paul Kokalis of Fontaine Modification Co. (Charlotte, N.C.). Governors at large are Ed Hoffman of Alliance AutoGas (Swannanoa, N.C.); and Meighan Read of Duke Energy (Charlotte, N.C.). Established in 2010 as a division of NTEA — The Association for the Work Truck Industry, GTA is a voice for companies creating vocational trucks and products to help maximize fuel efficiency and mitigate environmental impacts. Over the past 11 years, the association has made significant strides in improving work truck efficiency and productivity through the development and deployment of strategies to reduce diesel and gasoline consumption. The Board of Governors is responsible for setting organizational policy and strategy, and plays an active role in developing programs and services. The 2020-2021 Board of Governors helped guide the development of education for Work Truck Week 2021, including Green Hour, highlighting new technology and efforts to move to a zero-emission environment. Learn more about GTA at greentruckassociation.com.

NRPA applauds Congresswoman Barragán on commitment to outdoor equity ASHBURN, VA. — Kristine Stratton, president and CEO of the National Recreation and Park Association, issued the following statement regarding Congresswoman Nanette Barragán’s push to codify the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program into law: 

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News & Notes “Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Outdoors for All Act through an amendment by Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA). This important action is a major step in the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program becoming law — protected to fulfill its promise of increasing access to quality parks and green spaces for all. The ORLP program provides crucial funding for urban areas that lack local access to parks, and this amendment will help our collective efforts to increase equity in outdoor recreation. “The Outdoors for All Act, which was introduced in 2019 by thenSenator Kamala Harris, directs the U.S. Department of the Interior to permanently establish ORLP. The program awards federal funding through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) as part of a nationally competitive grant program for urban parks. Through this program, eligible entities are provided funding for the development of new parks and/or renovation of existing outdoor recreation facilities. Priority for this funding is given to communities that have sizable populations that are economically disadvantaged and are underserved in terms of outdoor recreation opportunities. “Although ORLP was established in 2014, it was created by an appropriations act, which means it was not a permanent program. Codifying ORLP into law will ensure that the program is not upended, as it was in the final days of the previous administration. “We commend the representatives who voted for this amendment and are grateful for Congresswoman Barragán’s leadership on this critical legislation. ORLP will ensure that future generations will have access to the social, physical and mental health benefits that local parks and recreation provides.”

Tips for Small to Midsize Townships Investing in Work Truck Fleets ANDY HOLVERSON, VP OF MUNICIPAL SALES, MONROE TRUCK EQUIPMENT — Across the country, townships looking to invest in a work truck fleet have several considerations to make. Each region has different needs, and each township has a unique budget, workforce and area to consider. However, despite all the regional features or challenges townships may face, they likely need to concentrate on building a core fleet of trucks that have one of two main objectives: a versatile, robust, year-round landscaping/dump truck or a snow and ice workhorse. Highway needs Typical township responsibility includes snow and ice management on town roadways. Often, major roads and highways are prioritized as first to be plowed and salted because they are major roadways connecting different parts of town. Snow and ice professionals are tasked with clearing snow off the most important highways as quickly and safely as possible. The right equipment will help street departments clear those major roadways quickly, so safe traffic can resume. Small to midsize townships in the snow belt should consider investing in trucks that feature: • Stainless steel body. • Integrated hydraulic package. • Stainless steel hydraulic components. • Straight blade or Vee-blade style plow package. • Under tailgate or Vee-box spreader.


• Warning light package. • Rear towing package. Versatile needs Small to midsize townships often feature small, winding or nontraditionally sized roads and walking areas. Township workers are responsible for year-round maintenance for all roads, no matter how challenging those areas may be. Townships should invest in at least one versatile truck can clear, maintain and protect these areas. The benefit of investing in a truck is that they are versatile enough for year-round use. The same trucks that will control snow and ice are also able to landscape cemeteries and other hard to navigate areas, take care of waste management in small alleyways and maintain residential areas. For more versatile, year-round truck options, look for midsize trucks that include: • Lower working height. • Better turning radius. • Lower purchase price than Class 7 and 8 patrol trucks. • Better fuel mileage. • May not require CDL drivers. • Lower maintenance costs. Customized to your region One of the greatest benefits of concentrating on these two types of work trucks is that you can really customize your fleet to meet your particular challenges. Maybe you only need two heavy-duty plows, but need 10 versatile, year-round dump trucks with extra equipment storage and landscaping accommodations. Or maybe you have less landscaping and maintenance to do year-round, but really need to empower your team with the equipment needed to plow through miles of highways and roadways quickly and safely. Whatever your needs may be, there are fully engineered upfitting options that help you make the most of your work truck fleet. Consolidated purchasing When building a fleet that is particular to your region’s needs, upfitting unique features helps municipalities get the most bang out of their buck. However, purchasing becomes a pain when you have to hop location to location to choose a chassis, plow, dump and add any unique working features your team wants. Finding a trusted work truck manufacturer and upfitter will help you save time, money and headache while building or scaling your work truck fleets. An investment for the future Small and midsize municipalities have unique needs that change region to region. The benefit of investing in two main truck types: a hard-working plow and spreader and a more versatile, year-round work truck can address a number of seasonal challenges in almost all regions. These two truck types cover nearly all municipal tasks and can be easily scaled up to accommodate the size and population of the municipality.  News releases regarding personnel changes, other non-product-related company changes, association news and awards are printed as space allows. Priority will be given to advertisers and affiliates. Releases not printed in the magazine can be found online at www.themunicipal.com. Call (800) 733–4111, ext. 2307, or email swright@the-papers.com.

ANDY MOHR FORD COMMERCIAL DEPT. PLAINFIELD, IN (317) 279-7141 www.AndyMohrFord.com ® We are a stalker Radar Distributor CONTACT KENT GOLDMAN fleet9000@aol.com TOM DATZMAN TomDatzman@aol.com


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Sustainable. Attainable. Crews in Moorhead, Minn., are watching recycling “pick up” substantially after rolling out 16,000 no-sort recycling bins. Residents are recycling five times more than they did in 2017, and are helping Moorhead become a GreenStep City. City leaders procure 96-gallon Toter carts and other equipment by using cooperative contracts through their government partner, Sourcewell, which has hundreds of vendors already on contract.

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sourcewell-mn.gov 66   THE MUNICIPAL | APRIL 2021

Watch this video to see blue recycling carts turning a city green.



Guest Column

Lebanon sparks community conversation on policing Sherry Capello | Guest columnist Mayor, Lebanon, Pa.

“I can’t breathe” was whispered, and the whole country watched in horror as protests broke out against police brutality. In Lebanon City, a protest was held in June by Black Lives Matter supporters and other members of our community. Lebanon, of course, honored their First Amendment rights while ensuring law and order were maintained. To show that we were listening, I asked my staff to build community engagement boards for protestors to use as a way to express in writing their concerns or to simply dedicate a message in someone’s memory. We committed to holding future conversations, but unfortunately, mitigation guidelines issued by the governor limited the number allowed to gather indoors. Not knowing when mitigation measures would be lifted, wanting to answer the questions asked about police operations and desiring to hear from the community, we decided to hold the conversation via Zoom. We had 61 individuals sign up for the Community Conversation held last November. The conversation shared information based on comments generated from the protest held in June, a petition submitted shortly thereafter and was based on questions raised by the community. After the informational part of the presentation, we opened the conversation between members of our panel and the community members participating. Everyone was afforded the opportunity to offer comments or to ask questions. The panel included the city’s labor attorneys, Michael Miller and Tricia Springer, who specialize in contractual labor law and in the Right-toKnow law; Holly Leahy, administrator of the Lebanon County Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities/Early Intervention Program; Todd Breiner, police chief of the Lebanon Police Department; Enoch Ayala, one of our Hispanic patrol officers with LPD; and me. I thought it was important to open the conversation by providing some background on Lebanon City’s history and demographics, as well as what police department policies we have had in place, the new policies implemented and how operations have evolved to where we are today. The city’s population has significantly changed over the last 20 years. Our Hispanic population doubled from 16% in 2000 to 32% in 2010, 68   THE MUNICIPAL | APRIL 2021

Protest crowd in front of the Lebanon County City Municipal Building on June 4, 2020. (Photo by Mayor Sherry Capello)

and I believe the percentage will be around 50% or more in the 2020 Census. Our Black population slightly increased over the last 20 years but decreased by 1% over the last 10 years to 5%. Lebanon City has a population of 25,477, and LPD has 41 sworn police officers. Regardless of the staffing method utilized, Lebanon City has far less officers than what is standard in the industry. However, no matter what method is utilized to determine the appropriate number of officers, it basically comes down to what a municipality can afford. The Lebanon City Police Department engages in an aspect of community policing in that we continue to build relationships with the community through interactions with local agencies and members of the public, creating partnerships and strategies for reducing crime and disorder. We do not have the manpower to fully engage in a true fullservice community policing strategy wherein an officer patrols the same area for a period of time and interacts with the citizens in a neighborhood to identify and solve problems. In Lebanon, serious crime has decreased by 42% from 20 years ago. Looking at the number of criminal arrests and non-traffic citations by race and ethnicity, the figures demonstrate the number of arrests and citations for Blacks or Hispanics based on their percentage of the population are not out of line. Concerning the diversification of our police force, although we do not ask employees what race or ethnic group they identify with, we recognize and want our department to be more diversified. We have implemented new practices to address this concern. The city conducts its own training in addition to what is required by the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission. Our additional training includes use of force, use of the Taser, deescalation and scenario training based on changes in the law. Additionally, some

Sgt. Eric Sims from LPD performs the tip-off to start the annual Sweep the Streets Basketball Tournament in the city. (Photo by Jeff Ruppenthal and the Lebanon Daily News) of our officers received sensitivity training until last year when we mandated it for all employees annually. Also, many of our officers had training in Mental Health First Aid. However, we made that mandatory, and as of the first week in February 2021, all patrol officers and supervisors have received this training through a partnership with WellSpan/PhilHaven. We also are exploring a co-responder program

wherein a crisis intervention employee would respond on calls with a patrol officer. Affordability and liability issues are the main concerns. The city applied for a 50/50 match grant for body-worn cameras, and we received notification that our application will be awarded. It is our intent to finalize a purchase, implement a policy and train all officers before the end of this calendar year. There are several reasons to acquire BWC: 1) improve officer accountability, 2) improve community relations, 3) enhance officer training and 4) improve evidence quality or make cases easier to prosecute. The city has a policy in place for complaints and investigations against officers. Trust is built when citizens feel the police department listens and appropriately responds to their valid concerns and opinions. An accessible, fair and transparent complaint process is the hallmark of police responsiveness to the community. It is incumbent on the police department to make its citizens aware that a complaint process exists, how to file a complaint and how the department processes, investigates complaints and that their complaints matter. Over the last three years, the number of complaints filed ranged from one in 2018, three in 2019 and zero in 2020. The complaints were filed evenly by Hispanics and whites. Also, during the same time period, looking at the use of any force, including the use of hands, I think a reasonable person could determine from our statistics that the city typically uses the least amount of force necessary as per our use of force policy. After the protest was held, Chief Breiner and I attended a local anti-racism workshop

Use of Any Force by Police Officers Individual Arrest May Contain Several Types of Use of Force

• 2018 - 1,112 arrests and 956 taken into Central Booking • 56 times a Use of Force report was required. • 4 Black, 32 White, 20 Hispanic • 5 Firearms (Pointed), 10 Tasers, 3 laser display with no deployment, 2 O.C. Spray, and 36 hands • 2019 - 1,024 arrests and 1,000 taken into Central Booking • 61 times a Use of Force report was required. • 4 Black, 20 White, 37 Hispanic • 6 Firearms (Pointed), 5 Tasers, 5 laser display with no deployment, 3 O.C. Spray, and 42 hands • 2020 - 846 arrests and 671 taken into Central Booking • 21 times a Use of Force report was required. • 5 Black, 9 White, 7 Hispanic • 0 Firearms (Pointed), 1 Taser, 0 laser display with no deployment, 0 O.C. Spray, 2 Knee Strikes and 18 hands

facilitated by the Sexual Assault Resource & Counseling Center and other community leaders. We recognize that this issue is evolving. We have more to learn, and it is a process, but we are committed to improvement in this area. By attending the workshop and taking actions laid out in our “Commitments to Racial Equity” statement, we believe we are on the right course. By listening to our community’s voices, holding a conversation with our community, taking action to improve policies, and transparency, Lebanon City is committed. It is our intent to maintain and improve upon our community’s trust. We are here to serve the people and provide law and order in a fair and transparent manner. That is our pledge and we will honor it.  Sherry Capello was sworn in as Lebanon’s 31st mayor Jan. 4, 2010. Capello’s first term focused on becoming accountable to the people, including addressing a budget deficit, attending numerous audit findings, catching up with past due audits, negotiating a contract concession for a base salary freeze for all three unions and nonunion employees, which saved the city approximately $150,000, and establishing a capital reserve fund for future capital purchases. The mayor’s second and third terms were focused on economic development. Capello has been honored with an award in 2021 from the Central Penn Business Journal as one of 100 influential people in Central Pennsylvania. Additional awards include recognition in 2020 from the U.S. House of Representatives for exceptional service to communities in Pennsylvania’s 9th District during the coronavirus pandemic; 2017 Lebanon Valley Family YMCA Healthy Living Award for her dedication to the health and well-being of our community; 2016 CLA Clean Sweep Award; 2016 LV Chamber of Commerce Community Builder Award; 2016 APA Planning Leadership Award for an Elected Official; 2015 HACC Distinguished Alumni Award; and in 2012, the LV Chamber of Commerce Athena Award.

On the Web To view Lebanon’s “Commitments to Racial Equity” statement, visit http:// www.lebanonpa.org/policedepartment/pages/default.aspx.


TOP 10 Most and least ‘sinful’ cities In December 2020, WalletHub composed the site’s list of most and least sinful cities. While rankings of sinfulness may seem impossible to quantify, the site used the seven deadly sins as reference, comparing 150 most populated U.S. cities — plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state — across seven key dimensions: anger and hatred; jealousy; excesses and vices; greed; lust; vanity; and laziness.

drinking, casinos per capita, charitable donations as share of income, adult entertainment establishments per capita, most active Tinder users, tanning salons per capita, average daily time spent watching TV and share of adults not exercising.

While Las Vegas, Nev., tops the list, WalletHub financial writer Adam McCann notes, “Las Vegas isn’t the only ‘Sin City’ in America. In other cities, bad things “We examined those dimensions using 37 relevant happen and stay there, too. From beer-loving Milmetrics,” WalletHub shares. waukee to hedonistic New Orleans, the U.S. is filled with people behaving illicitly. No place is innocent. Metrics included violent crimes per 1,000 residents, We all have demons.” sex offenders per capita, hate-crime incidents per capita, thefts per 1,000 residents, identity-theft com- This month, The Municipal is sharing both the most plains per capita, share of obese adults, excessive sinful and least sinful cities.

MOST SINFUL CITIES 1. Las Vegas, Nev. 2. Los Angeles, Calif. 3. St. Louis, Mo. 4. Houston, Texas 5. Atlanta, Ga. 6. Miami, Fla. 7. Philadelphia, Pa. 8. Denver, Colo 9. Washington, D.C. 10. New York, N.Y.

LEAST SINFUL CITIES 1. Pearl City, Hawaii 2. South Burlington, Vt. 3. Bridgeport, Conn. 4. Fremont, Calif. 5. Port St. Lucie, Fla. 6. Cape Coral, Fla. 7. Madison, Wis. 8. Columbia, Md. 9. Oxnard, Calif. 10. Santa Rosa, Calif. Source: https://wallethub.com/edu/most-sinful-cities-in-america/29846


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Advertiser Index A


AirBurners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72

Land Pride . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Air Netix LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

Leonardo-Selex ES Incorporated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38-39

All Access Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9


Alumitank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

Mel Northy Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57

American Shoring Incorporated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

Midwest Sandbags LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

Andy Mohr Ford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

Midwest Tractor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25


Monroe Truck Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71

BendPak Incorporated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45


Bonnell Industries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

National Construction Rentals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

Brightspan Building Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5, 59

North American Rescue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

Bucher Municipal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67


Buyers Products Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75

Oelo Lighting Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60-61



CBI Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

Precision Concrete Cutting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

CleanFix North America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Clearspan Fabric Structures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Curbtender . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

R Rapid View LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BACK



Sensible Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

das Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

Sourcewell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

E Ebac Industrial Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

F Fluid Control Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 FSI North America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15


Streamlight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Strongwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

T Tech Products Incorporated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 The Cone Zone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Trinity Highway Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48


HOG Technologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cover, 10-11

Unique Paving Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Husky Portable Containment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Utility Truck Equipment Incorporated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65



ICOM America Incorporated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Versalift East, LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

This index is provided courtesy of the publisher, who assumes no liability for errors or omissions. APRIL 2021 | THE MUNICIPAL  73

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The Municipal April 2021