New Ansonia police chief asks for body cams


By Meladi Brewer

ANSONIA — The new Ansonia Police Chief wants to hit the ground running and is pushing for some changes after Sheriff Frank Shapiro retired.

Police Chief John Puckett has been with the Ansonia Police Department for about a week and a half now, so he is still finishing some organization at the police department.

“I had most of the state programs transferred over to me thanks to Frank. Frank was a big help,” Chief Puckett said.

He advised the police department had four AEDs, so he did a direct transfer to the Fire Department in order for them to at least have one available during an emergency situation. He will be meeting with the chief deputy in the near future to discuss what is going to be done, and how things are going to run in Ansonia moving forward.

“I did get a chance to meet with the school’s superintendent, several business owners, and several managers. Everybody has been really good, and the other thing I want you guys (the council) to think about is when I came in here and interviewed, you were talking to me about hiring other officers,” Chief Pucktt said.

He said what they could do, after some thought, is hire some part-time workers. Puckett believes this is the best way to go.

“A couple part-time guys gives me 40 hours a week to split up between part time people at like $20 an hour,” he said. “It is going to reduce your PRS fees because OPERs is a lot cheaper.”

He said the village is not going to have to pay sick time or vacation, so he believes it will be easier to find part-time people who are wanting a full-time vision. The chief also has done research into purchasing some body cameras for the officers on duty.

“I did get a couple of quotes for body cameras, and I really hope you will seriously consider doing one of these. The first quote is for four body cams just in case something breaks or we get some new officers. It’s four brand new ones with a year warranty for a total of $4,357.13,” Chief Puckett said.

This quote goes below what he originally estimated at around $8,000. He did say that the quote he got for WatchGuard does come in close to that estimate.

“The $4,000 price is for the four cameras, the program, and everything that gets set up in the office,” Puckett said. “I believe the body cams are something we have to have nowadays, as it reduces the liability for frivolous lawsuits.”

The other quote he got was for a five year plan that comes with four of their top of the line cameras, one terabyte of storage in their cloud, and a bunch of extra things that goes along with it. The quote is estimated at $4,397 a year for five years.

“I really hope that you will seriously consider purchasing them. We can get them pretty quick too,” the chief said.

There may be a grant in the coming year that can help offset costs of the cameras, but Chief Puckett said a lot of the stipulations with the grants are “they can come in and pull the footage whenever they want” along with a lot of other little things.

“It is public knowledge, and if someone wanted to come in and see this traffic stop from this date at this time, that is fine, but whomever they are want to come in and pull all the footage from this date to this date. It’s just a pain,” Puckett said.

The council received copies of all the quotes and stipulations to review before they come to a decision. A meeting is to be scheduled with the chief and the safety committee to go over the objectives and projects he wants to do in 2024 in order to start prioritizing and planning.

A brief discussion about putting cameras in the cars resulted in the chief saying he thinks the body cameras will be enough due to positioning and quality. A citizen inquired about speed signs that flash, as there is an issue with drivers speeding out of the car wash. Mayor Ted Adkins said he has looked into it, and they cost around $4,000 as well.

“Darke County might have a speed trailer that we could use,” Chief Puckett said. “We might be able to get them to set them out.”

Mike Hackler, council member, said they have a list of things they want the chief to get done, and that place of speed is on the list. He said maybe they could carry some of those things over instead of waiting.

The Ansonia Village Council meets the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].

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