Reclaimed Water at SAS
Town staff have been working closely with SAS to improve maintenance flushing of reclaimed water lines serving the SAS cooling towers. Routine flushing helps clean the pipes and ensure improved reclaimed water quality for more sensitive purposes, such as cooling tower operation. The main reclaimed pipeline serving the SAS campus terminates on the opposite side of the campus and is difficult to flush efficiently. As a way to provide improved maintenance flushing and cleaning, Town staff coordinated with SAS to identify a new flushing location that would offer greater flexibility and better overall coverage for water quality flushing. In October, a new flushing connection to the sanitary sewer system was constructed, which allows for more effective maintenance flushing for the entire SAS campus. On November 28, Town staff conducted a specialized pipeline cleaning operation for the reclaimed water main that improved disinfection and cleaning. Now that the new flushing connection is in service, this new operation can be repeated every six months or annually, as needed. This type of operation is one of many tools Town staff utilize to ensure high-quality reclaimed water is provided to the SAS Campus and all of our other year-round cooling tower customers.
Fire Station #9 Update
The Town completed demolition of the existing church building in the first quarter of FY 2018. ADW Architects is well under way with design. Construction is anticipated to begin in Summer 2018 with an expected Fall 2019 opening.
Cary Police Department Operation Medicine Drop
To help stop prescription drugs from falling into the wrong hands, the Town hosted its bi-annual Operation Medicine Drop on October 28 in partnership with the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and Safe Kids of North Carolina. With three drop-off locations for citizens to safely dispose of unwanted, unused, or expired medications, the event collected 474 pounds of prescription pills. In 2017, the Town collected 806 pounds of pills between our two Operation Medicine Drop events and our permanent pill drop box in the Police Department lobby.
Our pill take back program is a win-win for the Town: we are safely disposing of old medications instead of flushing them down the drain and preventing chemicals from ending up in the water supply, and we get unused prescription drugs off the streets.
A cross-departmental team of staff from Public Works, Finance, Development Services and the Manager’s Office have been meeting weekly since June to foster the formation of the Town’s 311 Center. The Town’s three call centers are already providing excellent service. However, by bringing together representatives from each center, as well as staff from other departments within the Town, 311 will uphold the Town’s role as a leader in excellent service through the use of cutting edge technology as it meets the short- and long-term needs of the community. The centralized 311 system’s advanced analytics will also help the Town identify potential risks and plan ahead for solutions while adapting to changing conditions over time.
In the second quarter, the 311 work team interviewed other municipalities’ 311 Centers and met with the staff at the current three call centers in Development Services, Finance, and Public Works. Their goal was to share the vision for 311, garner feedback and begin to form the first group of Citizen Advocates. A pilot space has been built and is being furnished just inside the west entrance to Town Hall next to the Development Services Customer Service area. Next quarter, it’s expected that this space will begin to host six to ten 311 Citizen Advocates. The Town has embraced an open-ended approach to the timeline of the project to ensure resiliency and adaptability while forming a 311 Center that continues the Town’s legacy of excellence.
Solid Waste Route Rebalancing
The week of November 6 produced the largest re-routing of solid waste collections since the Town converted from backyard to curbside collection in 2006. During this re-route, 26,000 homes had their solid waste collection day changed, their recycling week changed, or a combination of both. This was done to rebalance the existing routes, maintain exemplary service levels, and eliminate the need to hire additional staff. The largest component of the schedule change included adding Monday collection service and discontinuing Friday collections. All solid waste services are now collected Monday through Thursday, as opposed to the prior Tuesday through Friday schedule. Communications efforts were extensive, as we included BUD teasers, a direct mailing to every affected household, inserts in the annual mailer, and a notice on every cart the week before the change. Because of these efforts, we experienced less than 300 phone calls, which was approximately 1 percent of affected households.
This fall, staff continued our ongoing median planting project to enhance the look and feel of our medians in keeping with Council’s 2014 directive. Medians planted this quarter included Green Level Church Road (Phase 2), West Lake Road, Ten-Ten Road, O’Kelly Chapel Road, Louis Stephens Road, Yates Store Road and Kit Creek Road.
Water Demand and Water Transfers
The chart below shows a summary of water demand, including overall production at the Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility (CAWTF), water metered in Cary and delivered to Apex, water transfers to other municipalities, and non-revenue water. Non-revenue water includes use for system maintenance, flushing and fire suppression, and unaccounted for water due to distribution system leaks or theft. Unaccounted for water includes water used for the plant expansion and testing, and has been higher than normal during construction of the current expansion project, which will be complete by Spring 2018. The Town’s unaccounted for water typically averages seven percent, which is quite low compared to peer water systems. The relative new age of the Town’s distribution system and proactive maintenance has contributed to the low loss ratio.
Cary maintains water system interconnections with Durham and Raleigh for mutual aid and tracks the balance of transfers. A summary of year-end water transfer balances is shown in the chart below. Overall, calendar 2017 has been an active year for water transfers, especially as Cary and Durham have both been constructing major improvements to their water systems. Transfers to and from our utility neighbors during the course of the year have been extremely beneficial as we assisted one another during construction activities at our water treatment facilities or during emergencies such as significant water line breaks. We continue to enjoy excellent relationships with our utility neighbors.
Utility Energy Audit
Council approved the Town’s first Strategic Energy Action Plan, (SEAP) in 2012 and subsequently updated the plan in 2015. Read the plan.
The Town’s utility operations are the largest electrical power users among Town of Cary municipal services. As part of the Town’s overall goal for improved energy efficiency, the water and wastewater utility services have embarked on a goal to reduce energy usage by three percent on a per capita basis. One of the primary recommendations from the SEAP for the Town’s water and wastewater utility plants was to conduct an energy audit.
The Town contracted with an engineering firm in December 2016 to conduct an energy audit of our three water reclamation facilities and the Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility. After a year-long review of operations at these facilities, the results have been very encouraging. The engineering team evaluated both supply and demand management opportunities and concluded that the treatment facilities are all performing very well and energy use is appropriate for their current unit process configurations. The engineering team concluded that most of the readily available demand management options were already being implemented and the Town was effectively managing billing rates and supply side management strategies. Long-term recommendations include maintaining existing billing structures, exploring opportunities to improve pumping efficiency, and expanding the use of energy data management capabilities. A final report of the complete recommendations of the engineering team is under development and expected to be submitted in Quarter 3.
Jordan Lake Water Supply
The water level in Jordan Lake, which is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has been slowly declining since last summer and has been holding steady at approximately 212 feet for the last few weeks of December 2017. The current lake level is approximately four feet below the normal water surface elevation of 216 feet. Rainfall was approximately 2.7 inches below normal for the last 90 days of 2017. The lowest lake level experienced during the last 15 years was 209.9 ft. during the 2002 drought.
The Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility has two intakes that can be used to access water from Jordan Lake: an upper intake and a lower intake. As the lake level has slowly declined, staff began to operate exclusively from the lower intake. The lower intake is positioned at an elevation of 202 feet. At this time of year, none of our seasonal water quality challenges are present—these typically occur in the summer when the lake stratifies into distinct layers of differing water quality. So there are no treatment impacts now resulting from using the lower intake. The Town‘s Drought Management Plan specifies management techniques to ensure our ability to meet water demand in the event of a prolonged drought. At this time, water supply is sufficient and we are not nearing any of our triggers for action. Staff continues to closely monitor our water supply and expected rainfall as we move into 2018.
Jordan Lake Algaecide Proposal
The state budget included funding for a proposed alternative treatment of the water in Jordan Lake instead of adopting a comprehensive watershed management strategy, such as the Jordan Lake Rules. The budget requires the NC Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) to initiate testing and sampling of water in the lake and explore treatment methods such as algaecide and phosphorus-locking chemical technologies that would consist of adding chemicals into Jordan Lake. NCDEQ staff have been researching this issue and in October, submitted a request to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to initiate a demonstration project. This project was to be conducted by a proprietary vendor named in the state budget. After some review and follow up, the USACE denied the request and concluded that the proposal was not feasible due to adverse impacts, including reductions to lake storage volume and concerns that a chemical component, lanthanum, would likely accumulate in the tissues of fish in the lake. If NCDEQ wishes to continue pursuing the application of chemical algaecide treatments, they will need to prepare an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. Town staff remains very concerned about the chemical treatments proposed for Jordan Lake—especially since they are designed to replace a more comprehensive watershed management strategy—and are monitoring this process closely.
Town staff began our annual loose leaf collection program in November, with the commitment to make two full sweeps to all households by Christmas and a third sweep in January. This year, we once again met that commitment with nine trucks pulling a leaf machine, and one automated leaf truck.
Our eighth annual America Recycles Day Shred Event was held on November 18 with the support of Green Hope High School AP Environmental Science student volunteers. Approximately 900 citizens brought over 51,000 pounds of paper that was shred on-site for recycling—a 24 percent increase in pounds of paper and a seven percent increase in the participants compared to the 2016 event. We proudly joined many communities throughout the United States to celebrate and recognize a day that promotes recycling across the nation.
Takata Airbag Update
Early in 2017, staff was notified that three of our Ford Ranger pickups had been recalled due to a defect in the Takata airbag. These three vehicles were on the existing FY 2017 replacement list and were immediately taken out of service.
In November, staff was notified that an additional 34 vehicles had potentially defective airbags. We immediately took them out of service. By creatively maneuvering the assignment of vehicles and renting nine vehicles, we were able to provide Police vehicles the same day and assign the last rental vehicle within four business days.
On November 14 at the first quarter meeting, Council was made aware of this issue and authorized $1,000,000 of funding to purchase replacement vehicles. Below is a summary of activities in Quarter 2:
- Of the 37 total recalled vehicles, six were already on the FY 2018 replacement list and had been ordered
- Four vehicles were not scheduled to be replaced and were added to the surplus list to right-size our fleet
- Of the 37 total recalled vehicles, 27 were left to be replaced
- 20 vehicles were found, ordered, delivered, and are in use; we were able to purchase 13 on state contract and seven from dealer lots
- Seven vehicles are on order with an expected delivery date of April, and rental vehicles will be in use until that time
- Anticipated total rental expense is $47,000
- Anticipated total expense is $600,000
The return of unspent appropriations and the breakdown between the general fund and the utility fund will be addressed in the next two quarterly reports.
We are working hard to develop a comprehensive stormwater management program to meet the needs of our citizens now and into the future. We’re doing so by thinking differently about our technical and community approach. Stormwater problems have always existed and will continue to exist in the future. Our overall goal is to reduce the risk of impacts of natural events and improve the ability of the Town to bounce back from these events in the future by becoming a more resilient community. Our staff—some of the best in the nation—will continue to tackle the highly technical issues related to stormwater, but we have begun to think differently about stormwater problems. One way we are doing this is to expand our reach to national experts, business leaders and those who are directly impacted to include them in developing a different approach to stormwater management. Downtown stormwater issues of the present and the past lend themselves to this different approach, so Downtown Cary will serve as a pilot area. To begin the discussions, an inter-departmental team of staff brought together a working group of downtown stakeholders. This group of citizens, developers, stormwater experts and staff is co-creating a strategic approach for managing stormwater in our downtown to meet the unique challenges of redevelopment within this older neighborhood. An important element of this program will be effective engagement of the community and this working group.
In addition, we have participated in two roundtable discussions with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Flood Apex Program. The roundtable discussion in Cary was the only one located outside of DC and included our local business community in addition to national thought leaders. The Town will continue to participate in this program and is pursuing various grant opportunities and additional partnerships to develop the Town’s comprehensive approach.
It has been said throughout cultural history that a circle is both a perfect geometric shape and an icon of “the indivisible fulfillment of the Universe.” A circle exists in Cary, and it’s one that began to form years ago.
In August 2014, an officer-involved shooting took place in Ferguson, Missouri. The days that followed were beset with riots, the likes of which had not been seen since the 1992 Rodney King incident in Los Angeles. What happened in Ferguson created incredible unrest throughout the country, specifically concerning the relationship of law enforcement and communities of color. While Cary did not see problems on that level, the incident did create conversation in our black community about the uncertainty of who we are and what we stand for. It was that uncertainty that drove a Cary resident, Tru Pettigrew, through our front door. Thus began a relationship and a partnership that would last years—and it became the beginning of our circle.
Through the ensuing years, Tru and the members of the Cary Police Department have worked with diligence and persistence to ensure there is a relationship between our communities of color and our police officers. We came to understand that consistency builds familiarity and familiarity builds trust. As such, we created opportunities through forums, classes, church visits, and cookouts to build and maintain a close relationship within this important piece of our community. If all of the efforts were listed, the count would easily hit triple digits. But without a doubt, the most impactful of these efforts has been the Barbershop Rap Sessions. Created by Tru, these rap sessions had been happening for many years both in his home and in one local barbershop, Headliners. Tru’s vision involved bringing members of the Cary Police Department into discussions at Headliners in order to bridge the gap that existed between these two groups. Tru learned by spending time with Cary police officers that his perceptions of who the police are, and the reality of who they are, were very, very different. He learned about the people behind the badge and he wanted others within Cary’s black community to learn what he had already come to know. Although the owner of Headliners was skeptical, he trusted Tru’s instincts and agreed that we could be invited in. The circle grew.
Members of the police department and the black community began having regular conversation on the first Saturday morning of every month. They discussed law enforcement incidents from around the country as well as incidents that occurred locally. They talked about perceptions on both sides of the issue and everyone involved learned and grew from these discussions. Most importantly, the group discussed issues that weren’t at all related to law enforcement. It was through these discussions that the men and women in the shop came to see that the men and women behind the badge were also just regular people. They shared some of the same struggles, wrestled with some of the same issues, and had some of the same uncertainties. The police officers and members of the community grew through the realization that we are more alike than we are different. And the circle grew.
These relationships grew in trust and familiarity. We heard several times that these community members trusted Cary officers, whom they had come to know as people, but their radar went back up as soon as they left our city limits. To address this perception, we introduced police chiefs and police officers from other towns into the discussions to help our community members become more at ease throughout our entire area. Police chiefs and officers from Apex, Fuquay, Morrisville, Holly Springs, Raleigh, and Knightdale, as well as Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison, have all attended the Headliners rap sessions, and many have taken the concept back to barbershops in their towns. And still, our circle grew.
Flash forward to October 2017. Tru and the police chiefs from Cary, Apex, and Raleigh were invited to present their story at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference in Philadelphia. This conference, which had attracted nearly 17,000 police chiefs and police executives from around the world, is the largest, most well attended conference for law enforcement professionals in the world. Together, Tru and our local police chiefs presented a workshop titled, “Barbershop Rap Sessions: Are They the Key to Community Engagement.” In addition, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) was so impressed with the group’s effort that they agreed to fund a video that was produced as part of the presentation. This video featured four of the area’s local barbers talking about how transformative the Barbershop Rap Sessions had been in their shops and communities. An interview, which included nearly two hours of incredible comments by the barbers, was edited down to a powerful four-minute video.
The appointed time for the workshop arrived and Tru and the Chiefs prepared to start. Just before the session began, the group was surprised to find that the Chief of Police from Ferguson—yes, that Ferguson—was sitting near the front of the assembled crowd. And the circle began to close.
The workshop was delivered with great success and streamed live on Facebook. This not only allowed attendees to benefit from the presentation, but also allowed others around the world to benefit as well. According to the feedback received in the class evaluations, it was a powerful, engaging, and motivating presentation. One attendee stated it was “the best workshop of the entire conference.” Most significantly, the Chief of Police from Ferguson, Chief Delrish Moss, approached the speakers following the workshop. He was enthusiastic about what he had heard, and he believed it could make a big difference in Ferguson. He asked Tru for advice on bringing the program to Ferguson. It was concerns following riots in Ferguson that drove Tru through the doors of our police department. It was those concerns that led the group to meet regularly with members of Cary’s black community. Those discussions led to better understanding. And that understanding led to a true relationship. Now, the Ferguson police department wants to bring that model to their community. Our circle is almost closed.
When we actually find ourselves standing in a Ferguson barbershop, our circle—that perfect pattern—will be complete. None of us could have anticipated that this is where our journey would lead. But it reminds us that Cary is different. Cary is special. And Cary can make a difference in the world. While this circle is closing, make no mistake—it won’t stop growing. This great community will continue to work together to ensure that Cary remains at the top and helps to shape the world.
On January 20, 2017, a new administration took over the White House and with it, a new approach to immigration issues was anticipated, which created a lot of concern amongst many in our local Hispanic community.
We heard rumors that some people within our Hispanic community were looking to turn guardianship of their children over to the church so the kids would be able to stay in the country if adult aliens were deported. This prompted us to reach out to local churches and seek audience with those who wanted to get to know us, hear our thoughts and feelings and express their concerns directly with us. Our Hispanic Forums then took shape.
In 2017, we hosted five such panel format forums with Q&A sessions.
- March 11 at Grace Bible Fellowship
- March 15 at White Plains United Methodist
- May 9 and August 8 at Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church
- July 8 at Saint Michael’s Catholic Church
This topic was of such great importance reaching beyond our borders that we thought it prudent to invite other municipal departments to sit on the panel discussion. Chief John Letteney of Apex PD, Chief Patrice Andrews of Morrisville PD and District Attorney Lorrin Freeman, as well as a local immigration attorney all participated in a few of these discussions.
We assured those in attendance that we pride ourselves on our cultural diversity and were not in the business of deporting anyone. We even mentioned how we declined to assist Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) when they conducted their “round-up” operations.
After touching upon the deportation topic and the difference between federal and local law enforcement, we found that one of the main reoccurring concerns from members of this community was related to driving. Specifically, it can be difficult to acquire a driver’s license, yet many work and have a commute. Another concern was the perception that our checkpoints were designed to target the Hispanic community. There was even a request for us to follow Chapel Hill PD, Durham PD as well as a few other police departments by no longer conducting checkpoints.
All panel members expressed the importance of the driver’s license as it is our standard for ensuring the motoring public has been educated on some of our basic traffic laws and that the driver has been tested and approved to operate a motor vehicle by a certified examiner.
Furthermore, we assured our community that we conduct checkpoints at various locations throughout the entire town and that we do not target any group or community. We explained the purpose and importance of the checkpoint and how it deters drinking and driving, encourages regulatory compliance, and promotes safety to our motoring public and because of this, we will not discontinue this effective law enforcement strategy. However, one key takeaway was that we learned it was difficult for staff to determine where previous checkpoints were conducted. In response to this, we established a more effective system of tracking checkpoints.
Project PHOENIX and our Community Services Unit also work closely with members of our Hispanic community. For several years, we have helped plan, coordinate, and host two large-scale annual community events: the Wrenn Drive and Nottingham Drive Community Events. One of our key stakeholders and partners is Iglesia Cristiano de Cary, a predominantly Hispanic faith-based community that is a key partner in making these events a success. This past year, the Wrenn Drive Community Event was held on June 17 and the Nottingham Drive event was held on October 21.
We actively participate in other events as well. Ritmo Latino and Three Kings Parade are two prominent events celebrated in town. The Town partners with Diamante, Inc. who hosts this family festival and parade. Music, dance, artisans, craft vendors, and foods from around the Hispanic world are showcased during this festival. The Three Kings Parade is held at Town Hall and circles the entire campus.
In addition, the Cary Police Department voluntarily participates in the federal U Visa program. Congress created the U Visa program in 2002 to strengthen the ability of local and state law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute serious crimes, while offering protections to victims of such crimes without the immediate risk of being removed from the country. U Visas allow the victims of serious crimes who are helpful to police to temporarily stay in the United States for up to four years. U Visas are approved and granted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
We accept applications and review cases to determine if the applicant was a victim of qualifying crime and how they were of assistance to our department during the investigation and prosecution, if applicable. We submit our recommendations to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for their ultimate consideration.
Finally, earlier in the year, Cary, Apex, Garner, Morrisville, Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina Police Chief’s partnered together to promote police and community partnerships. Together, along with community members, they spoke about what is important in building police-community partnerships. A public service announcement was created to emphasize three key points: community, trust, and transparency.
Inspections and Permits: Fire Re-Inspections
In keeping with “OneCary,” the Fire Department and Inspection and Permits have teamed up to address re-inspections. Effective December 1, the Fire Department began assisting Inspections and Permits by conducting some re-inspections to ensure minor code violations identified during state mandated routine fire inspections have been corrected. Historically, about 80 percent of all mandated routine fire inspections result in a violation requiring a re-inspection, approximately 1,800 re-inspections yearly. The Fire Department had over 15 staff members possessing the required North Carolina Fire Inspector Certification, and they volunteered to help with these re-inspections. This is a great example of finding capacity in unexpected places as well as increasing job diversity for some of our employees.
Electronic Plan Review for Building Permits
Electronic plan review has been utilized in the Town of Cary development review process since 2010 and has worked well for both developers and staff members performing plan review duties. Thus, electronic plan review was approved for expansion in the FY 2018 budget for building permits and the process of work flow set-up, workspace set-up, hardware, and staff training have been underway. Once in place, this program will save our design professionals, contractors and citizens in printing cost for plans and resubmittals, and reduce travel to Town Hall since plans can be submitted remotely, 24/7. In addition, the program will improve staff efficiency by reducing set-up time eliminate carrying heavy plan sets to allow for concurrent reviews for staff, and allow staff to access approved plans electronically from the field. Electronic plan review for building permits is projected to be available and an option for our design professionals, contractors, and citizens in the third quarter of FY 2018.
Complying with House Bill 252
In June 2017, House Bill 252 was ratified and became Session Law 2017-130. This law requires every inspections department to implement a process for an informal internal review of inspection decisions made by the department’s inspectors when requested by a permit holder or citizen. There were several requirements for the internal review process; an implementation deadline is December 1, 2017 and a yearly reporting deadline to the State is January 15. The Town of Cary developed and implemented the review process by December 1, 2017 as required by the law and is in full compliance. Information about the informal review process can now be found on every building permit and the Town of Cary website.
Inspections and Permits and Development Services Merge Technician Staff
In an effort to align staff functions and become more efficient, Inspections and Permits (I&P) and Development Services (DS) combined staff from two different roles into one work team effective September 2017. Previously, four technicians whose primary duty was to manage the overall building permit process were assigned to I&P and two technicians whose primary duty was to manage the development permit process were assigned to DS. Although specific tasks for these two technician groups were different, the skill set for the individual staff members was quite similar. Thus, the decision was made to combine the groups into a single Development Technician group. The combined group will officially be part of the Development Services Department but will interact with staff in multiple departments. This move was made in an effort to provided additional opportunities for cross-training and needed capacity in times of staffing shortages and peak workload.
Recapping Permits Issued
There were 16 new Non-Residential Permits totaling 604,414 square feet issued in Quarter 2. The top five new non-residential permits issued were the Metlife 3 Building, Metlife 3 Parking Deck, Publix Grocery Store, Aldi Grocery Store, and the White Oak Baptist Church Office Building. The 604,414 square feet permitted in Q2 represents the second-most square footage since Q2 of FY 2014 when permits totaling almost 1.5 million square feet were issued. The 1.5 million square footage in Q2 of FY 2014 included the Metlife 1 & 2 Buildings and the Metlife 1 & 2 Parking Decks.
Non-residential addition/alteration permits in Q2 (136) were up slightly from the Q2 five year average of 130.
I&P total inspections in Q2 (18,817) were up slightly from the Q2 five-year average (18,808). Historically, Q2 inspection numbers drop relative to Q1 due to the number of holidays in the quarter.
Rising above the trees along Kilmayne Drive, you’ll see the construction of the Town’s seventh elevated water storage tank. It is the Town’s first composite-style tank. Unlike the other tanks throughout Town that are made entirely of steel, the column of this tank is reinforced concrete and only the water storage bowl at the top will be steel. It has a two-million-gallon capacity and will stand about 170-feet tall.
The reinforced concrete foundation and stabilizing shaft have been completed. Along with the tank, a new 16” ductile iron water line is being installed beneath Kilmayne Drive, which will allow the tank to work most effectively in the central pressure zone of our water distribution system. During the third quarter of FY 2018, the steel bowl will be fabricated on site and the 16” water line will be connected along Kildaire Farm Road and SE Maynard Road.
After completion of this project in spring 2019, the 50-year old Maynard Road water tank, located near Cary High School, will be reconditioned to extend its useful life for decades to come.
Body Cameras Update
The Police Department currently has 110 in-car video camera systems deployed throughout its fleet and used on a daily basis by officers in the field. In addition to the car systems, we also have approximately ten body-worn cameras being used on an as needed basis.
Over time, the demand for body cameras in law enforcement has grown and based on this demand, we have begun to look at the best practices in implementing a new state-of-the-art system for use by the Town. This project is a collaborative effort among Town departments to provide the best equipment to our staff.
Starting in July 2017, the Police Department created a work team to look at the purchase and use of additional body cameras department-wide. The work team consists of several officers at different ranks, as well as members from IT and Finance.
The team began by polling officers to determine what they would like to see in a body camera system. In addition, we engaged our internal video/CAD manager and IT staff to determine what specs we needed in a system going forward. The fact-finding mission gave us a great starting point to lay out what we would like to see in a new camera system. Based on the timing of our efforts, we were able to attend several public meetings the Raleigh Police Department had concerning the implementation of their new system that was just approved. We also met with the Raleigh staff members that were involved in selecting their vendor to determine “lessons learned” during their process.
Based on all the information gathered from those involved, we recommend a system that allows the body camera and our in-car camera system to work together. The body camera will function independently when needed, but also provides the audio for the in-car system so officers are not required to wear an additional body microphone when operating a vehicle.
Vendor demonstrations occurred in November 2017. Below is our timeline for moving forward with this project.
- Winter 2018, begin field testing and evaluating equipment
- Spring 2018, release request for proposals and select vendor
- Winter 2019, full implementation
Mayor's Opioid Response Team
On October 20, the Town submitted an application for a 2017 Mayors Challenge Grant. This program, administered by the Michael Bloomberg Philanthropies, will select 35 “champion” cities in January 2018 to winter 2018 and award each up to $100,000 to implement a pilot of the program defined in their submittal. In October 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies will award four $1,000,000 and one $5,000,000 grant to selected champion cities to fully implement their program. The Town’s submittal brought together partners from the Wake County Public Health Department, NC Department of Health & Human Services, The Poe Center, and Biobot Analytics to develop a proposal that uses wastewater analysis to estimate the average opioid—both prescription and illicit—use in specific catchment areas and place information in an open data platform. This will create opportunities to integrate datasets, develop predictive analytics, promote collaboration across regions, increase civic engagement, and reduce the social stigma of addiction. Just as the game of baseball was revolutionized by data-based concepts as documented in Michael Lewis’ book Moneyball, we aim through this partnership to transform public health practice through state of the art analytics in an open data platform. It’s a platform where state and local public health officials and educators will be able to review near real-time systemic trends to better understand their community, allocate resources, and evaluate if programs are working. The timing of this effort is particularly important. The News and Observer reported on December 29, 2017, there was a “...21 percent rise in the number of deaths caused by drug overdoses in 2016.” Additionally, “...the opioid epidemic killed 42,000 people, more than died from AIDS in any year at the height of the crisis.” We anticipate initiating some of the pilot testing and developing the open data platform next quarter.