City approves police radio purchase

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

When they met this week, Leavenworth city commissioners approved the purchase of new radios for the Police Department for total cost of more than $200,000.

Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens said a replacement of handheld radios had been planned for 2023. But he was requesting to make the purchase of 75 new radios ahead of schedule because of concerns about the availability of replacement batteries for the Police Department’s existing radios.

The existing radios were purchased in 2014.

Kitchens said the Police Department was notified late last year that its radio vendor would no longer accept orders for replacement batteries for the radios used by the department.

Kitchens said the federal standard for radios has changed and the ones being used by the department are being phased out by Motorola.

He said police officials turned to aftermarket batteries for replacements.

“We have some, and we’re fine,” Kitchens told commissioners Tuesday. “We have no issue today.”

But Kitchens said he had concern about the Leavenworth Police Department making it to 2023 without problems.

“We have to be able to communicate,” he said. “There is no other alternative.”

Kitchens said he also has been informed that batteries used for the existing radios are no longer considered “intrinsically safe.” He said this means there could be a small danger to officers if the batteries are taken into what he referred to as hazardous or toxic environments.

Commissioners approved the purchase of 75 radios at a cost of $201,237.

City Manager Paul Kramer said reserve funds will be used to pay for the purchase.

Kitchens said the Police Department is trading in 50 of its 75 existing radios as part of the purchase. He said the department will keep 25 of the older radios for now in case they are needed for another city department.

Kitchens said there will be an additional cost of $4,500 to have the new radios programmed. But the chief said he can authorize this additional expense without the need for a vote by commissioners.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR

In other business

The Leavenworth City Commission:

• Approved resolutions to adopt updated versions of the Uniform Public Offense Code and Standard Traffic Ordinance as well as an intersection traffic control device master list.

• Granted a waiver to allow a temporary liquor license for St. Joseph Church. The temporary liquor license was requested for the church’s Germanfest Dinner and Dance scheduled for Oct. 23.

• Approved a cereal malt beverage license for Ava’s Island Cafe.