Grants lend financial help to Grosse Pointe Shores Public Safety Department

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 27, 2020

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — The Grosse Pointe Shores Public Safety Department is getting a financial helping hand in order to upgrade its in-car camera system.

After receiving approval to replace the old cameras in March from the City Council, Public Safety Director John Schulte said the department placed an order with WatchGuard Video for four cameras — two of which will go into existing scout vehicles and two of which will go into two new vehicles.

The cost of the equipment is $42,400, and Schulte said the Shores is getting a grant of $5,000 from the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Association toward the purchase.

Schulte said Lt. Kenneth Werenski did the groundwork and “did a great job” applying for the MMRMA grant.

“We apply for grants whenever we can,” Schulte said.

Schulte wasn’t sure precisely when the Shores last purchased in-car cameras, but it has been a number of years.

“Our cameras were in pretty significant need of upgrading,” Schulte said. “The technology moves so quickly. … You have to have accurate and high-quality video today.”

For a small city like the Shores, every grant helps to balance the budget and provide for vital equipment.

“Full credit should be given to the leadership of our Public Safety Department in applying for available grants, which help reduce the pressure on our budget and yet offer necessary improvements and safety features for our department,” Mayor Ted Kedzierski said by email. “Several years ago, we received a grant from the state to equip all of our officers with body vests. Our chief also applied for a grant to improve our radio communications between the patrol cars, etc. Collectively, the value of the grants received by our department over the years exceeds $100,000.”

Officers who’ve been working during the COVID-19 pandemic have gotten a financial boost, as well. Schulte said Sgt. Ronald Coste submitted an application to the state for the federal First Responder Hazard Pay Premiums Program and received $1,000 grants for all 16 officers and supervisors with the department.

“It’s a really nice bonus for the guys, who were out there every day,” Schulte said.

Most of the officers in the Shores are licensed paramedics, and Schulte said that because of their medical training, they’ve led the way in terms of disinfecting and cleaning surfaces and patrol vehicles to keep themselves and their colleagues safe.

“They are acutely aware of the risks and the (necessary) precautions,” Schulte said.

Officers will soon have the new cameras in their vehicles when they go out on runs and on patrol.

Schulte said officials with Ford Motor Co. said that the new public safety vehicles should arrive around the second week in November. Staff with the Department of Public Works will install the cameras, saving the Shores additional money.

“Hopefully, we’ll be up and running by the end of the year,” Schulte said.