Four applicants for Luther Police Chief will have a second-round interview with the Town Board of Trustees, Tuesday, October 17, beginning at 6:30 pm.
Three of the four final applicants were featured last week in an article in The Luther Register. Since then, we have been able to connect with the fourth applicant, David Randall for readers to learn more about him (Thank you Lt. Randall).
David Randall, 46, currently is a Lieutenant with the Department of Defense at Tinker Force Base and lives with his family in Edmond. He joins applicants Chuck Brewer, Ron Lentz and Kyle McDaniel who want to lead Luther’s police force.
Randall has twenty years experience that includes narcotics agent, patrol division, criminal investigations, federal inmate transport and federal law enforcement. He moved to Oklahoma following Hurricane Katrina and back then, told his family his dream was to be a Chief of Police of a small town. “I saw the need, and it rekindled my dream,” he said of the opportunity in Luther.
He knows all small-town police departments face similar problems including training, budget and a perception that the department cannot keep up to date with surrounding metropolitan partners. He’s up to the challenge.
“I am an energetic and dependable law enforcement professional. I believe in what I do and hold true the oath I’ve taken many years ago. I have the moxie to bridge the gap between the community and the town’s leadership to bring the trust back. To bring the pride in the department back. I am the one to make the department what it is supposed to be. To serve and protect the great people of Luther with honor and dependability and pride,” said Lt. Randall.
The applicants are supposed to bring some money ideas to their interview to help fund a plethora of issues in the department dealing with fleet repairs, training and probably raises. They’ve been sent the Town Budget. If they’ve been paying attention to recent town meetings, they know the police fleet is in ill repair, with major repairs listed on the agenda every month.
Trustee Paxton Cavin is the police department liaison to the board.
“What I have gathered from the officers is that the cars have NOT been maintained properly throughout the years. As a result, we are now seeing a lot of major issues that have to be addressed with the police fleet. Not being able to take the vehicles to OCSO also adds to the costs of the police department. And yes, it is putting a major strain on the police department budget. The officers and I have frequently discussed and prioritized equipment needs, but those purchases are getting continuously tabled due to vehicles ALWAYS needed major maintenance,
“One of the qualifications I will be looking for in the next Chief of Police is someone who can provide a better solution to our fleet issues. We can’t improve our police department and propel the department into the future if we continue to be financially crippled by our constant vehicle problems,” said Cavin.
From June 1, 2017, Luther Register – The board proposes a $667,537 budget for the new budget cycle which begins July 1, 2017. The new budget gives the Town almost $55,000 more to spend than the current year. The board is counting on that extra $55,000 to come from taxes. Interestingly, the Town is counting on taking in about $15,000 less in fines (tickets) and forfeitures. Incidentally, the town’s budget for 2017-18 is nearly $157,000 less than the budget in FY 2015-16, seemingly to reign in spending to save funding for inevitable capital needs with water and other infrastructure.
Last week, the board agreed to surplus two of the older police cars, and spend up to $782 on two motor mounts for the Caprice driven by Sgt. Mike Oliver.
The applicants might also be aware that their interviews aren’t the only thing happening at the Tuesday night special meeting. In addition, to the board possibly hiring one of the four, they will also consider a raise and job title change for the Town office coordinator.
Funding the raise, however, raised a bit of a social media firestorm not long after the agenda was posted last Thursday. The agenda said the raise would be taken from both the police and fire departments.
Cavin said the board is in a tough spot, trying to find money to keep a valuable employee while also advocating for public safety.
“She is such a valuable asset to this town and we have to do something to compensate her for all of the work that she accomplishes every day. Something has to change, and unfortunately, the budget is limited in every department. I do not know what the solution is for solving this issue, but I will be researching and reviewing the town budget to see what the best option is for every department. As the police liaison I will always advocate for the police department, we have a lot of needs in that department and officers who work tirelessly for this town; but as a trustee I will recognize that we have a tremendous employee working in Town Hall who deserves to be compensated for the work she does, which in many cases saves the town money. I look forward to discussing the matter further with the Board of Trustees at the October 17th meeting to come up with the best solution for all of the departments,” said Cavin.
Pidcock who worked for decades with The Village municipal government was hired by the last Luther board in April. Meeting observers note that nearly every meeting, she has been able to save the Town money by reviewing contracts with various vendors and reviewing bills.
It’s likely there have been no government problems solved on Facebook although it can be a sounding board. But sometimes it leads to misinformation. To discuss issues with any Trustees, their email address is on the Town website. Although it’s not officially on this agenda, the board generally listens to citizen comments at meetings as well.
As the police chief applicants crunch numbers and the trustees review the budget to take care of town employees and pay the bills, new sales tax numbers have been released by the Oklahoma Tax Commission. The Town of Luther is bringing in more sales tax revenue than this time last year. In October, Luther sales tax collections (at .03) were $40,229, compared to $29,619 for the same period in 2016. In the last three months, OTC reports that Luther has collected $105,414 from August to October. Last year during the same three months, that number was $89,435. If sales tax collections continue at that pace, revenue projections will exceed the 2017-2018 Town Budget.