Port Angeles to front funds for tribal police software

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The Lower Elwha Klallam Police Department will get a helping hand from the city to buy software for eight mobile computers in tribal police cars.

City Council members Tuesday night voted 6-0, with Councilwoman Sissi Bruch recusing herself, to buy mobile data and records management software licenses on behalf of the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe, which has promised to reimburse the city.

Bruch did not vote because she works as a planner for the tribe.

The tribe will reimburse the city for the $20,240 software licenses purchase price, city Police Chief Terry Gallagher said.

The city will purchase the licenses on behalf of the tribe because the tribe cannot buy directly from New World Systems, the software manufacturer with which the city has an existing contract, Gallagher said.

“You have to be under contract with New World to buy from New World,” Gallagher said.

Connect to system

The software will allow tribal police to connect to the same Port Angeles Metro-Net wireless system that city and Clallam County law enforcement officers and first responders use to access information from the field during investigations or emergencies, Gallagher said.

“It brings full interoperability between our agency and the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe,” he said.

Elwha Police Chief Rodney Charles said the software will allow tribal police officers to access information during a traffic stop without having to call dispatch via radio.

“It will allow my officers to punch in someone’s name or license plate [number] and find out who the person is,” Charles said.

Safer for officers

Frances Charles, chairwoman of the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe, said the software also will help keep tribal officers safe when responding to some of the more remote parts of the Elwha reservation.

“We’re really happy and continue looking forward to working with Chief Gallagher,” Frances Charles said.

“He’s really made some effort and has worked very well with our law enforcement.”

Gallagher said the software purchase agreement is part of a long-standing, positive working relationship the Police Department has with tribal police.

“Anytime we work together to the mutual benefit of our communities, we’re pretty excited about that,” Gallagher said.

Tribe helped with grant

Additionally, Gallagher said the software purchase agreement is a way of thanking the tribe for helping the city secure a federal Broadband Technology Opportunity Program, or BTOP, grant a few years ago that helped the city build the Metro-Net wireless system.

“In my view, we’re just returning the favor that the tribal police did for us during the BTOP process,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher said Wednesday that the fact that the near-citywide wireless system the BTOP grant funded also would reach the Elwha reservation helped the city make the case for the grant.

“We were able to serve not just our own community but an adjacent community,” Gallagher said.

Budget amendment

In other City Council news, council members had a first reading and public hearing on the first city budget amendment for 2013.

The hearing was continued to the May 7 City Council meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 321 E. Fifth St., when a second reading and vote on the amendment is scheduled.

City Finance Director Byron Olson said the amendment is the first of four planned for this year that will allow finance staff to update the city’s various fund balances based on revenue changes, such as grants.

6-0 vote

City Council members also appointed by a 6-0 vote Bellevue-based A. Dashen & Associates as the city’s financial adviser and added Seattle Northwest Securities Corp. and RBC Capital Markets to the city’s list of bond underwriters.

Councilman Max Mania recused himself from the vote because he said he has a friend who works for RBC Capital Markets.

Olson said the financial adviser and the bond underwriters will help the city develop the information necessary to issue bonds for use in funding city capital projects, such as the effort to stabilize a west Port Angeles bluff in danger of releasing accumulated landfill garbage into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 17. 2013 5:22PM
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