by Mitch Schneider

The City Council of University City recently addressed several issues relating to the city’s police department, facilities and equipment.

During its Nov. 25 meeting, the council voted to spend $141,900 for Trivers Associates to perform a space needs assessment for city departments. Trivers will be working with architects HOK on the project. The study will analyze the space needs of the city’s various departments and how to effectively house employees as well as equipment and resources.

The agreement is an extension of work that Trivers did earlier this year, examining the city’s former police department headquarters located in an annex connected to city hall at 6801 Delmar. Due to health and safety concerns stemming from that building, the police department has spent the last several years operating out of a nearby facility at 601 Trinity Ave. That study was to determine if the police annex could be renovated and reused.

Trivers presented findings on the police annex to the city council at a meeting in September. At the time, City Manager Gregory Rose said the next step would be for the police department, as well as other city departments, to do a space needs study, and that he would either advise the council to send out a request for qualifications or rework the contract with Trivers. The council chose the latter option.

When the initial police annex study was presented in September, it was discussed that a follow up space needs study could take from four to eight months.

In other business, the council heard from Police Chief Larry Hampton, who reviewed some recent upgrades to the department’s equipment.

Hampton said the department is in the process of updating computers in about 90% of its cars. He said that new ticketing printers have been added, as well as care cameras and GPS devices.

He said the department recently received a number of new protective vests and 30 new tasers, and that staff has been trained in their use.

Hampton said the department recently completed a 120-day test period for gunshot detection software. The equipment combines video and audio elements to help police determine where gunshots originate. Hampton said equipment is currently in place on poles throughout the city. If the equipment is to remain, the city council must approve a contract toward purchase. Hampton said no formal decision had been made on the software, but that he was leaning toward a recommendation for keeping it.