By JESSIE HORTON
DUBLIN (March 9, 2015) — Grants abound at the City of Dublin, with the council approving a 50-50 grant to improve Dublin City Park and interim police chief Bennie Noel referencing the dash and body cameras purchased by the department with 100 percent grant funding during the regular meeting Monday night.
City Administrator Nancy Wooldridge and Annette Bargainer with GrantWorks have been working on the grant application together and they told the council Wooldridge took Bargainer on a tour of the park before the meeting.
“I can tell you from my tour this evening, there is plenty to do at the city park,” Bargainer said during the meeting. “It’s a 50/50 split on this grant, but there are a number of ways to help meet that goal. Your city administrator is so excited about this grant that she even said she was willing to go out and talk to local businesses and individuals about donations. I don’t know that I’ve ever worked with someone willing to reach out to the community, or a community as willing to help.”
The grant will total $150,000, with 50 percent coming from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the other half being met by the city. Bargainer said the city’s economic development corporation could contribute to the match funding. She also said she’d looked at the scoring rhetoric and assessed the numbers from last year’s grant.
“Comparing what I believe the Dublin City Park will score to scores of those who received the grant last year, I believe Dublin is very competitive,” Bargainer said.
Wooldridge told the council there are a number of ways to get extra points on the grant, including to get volunteers to help with the work done at the park. She said part of her plan was to approach the high school and Tarleton State to see if students would donate their time to the project in various forms, including help with the proposed butterfly garden and the several hours of welding that would need to be done. Bargainer added that extra points could be earned if the city could get the county to help as well.
Interim police chief Bennie Noel gave the annual racial profiling report, which concluded that during the 225 times Dublin PD officers came in contact with a suspect that resulted in a citation during 2014, none of them resulted in a report of racial profiling. Noel reported that two of those encounters were with African-American suspects, 171 times the suspect was white and 52 were Hispanic suspects.
Noel added that the two dash cameras in the vehicles and the 12 body cams, which were all purchased with grant funds that the council previously approved applying for, allowed the department to be partially exempt from the report as all officer encounters were recorded and uploaded to a server. He said there would have been no way the department could have afforded the cameras and that they were utilized daily.
“We even have two more video cameras coming in in two weeks,” Noel said. “These are the cameras that go on the dash of our police vehicles. These cameras are invaluable tools in the field for our officers in addition to helping with reports like this one.”
The council also heard from Noel on the department’s newest additions – two new officers have been hired to fill two vacancies. Officer Bob Gonzalez has received a number of compliments from the school district, as well as parents of students in the district who have called city hall, council members and the police department directly to praise him. Noel introduced the newest officer, who was on patrol for the first time tonight.
“Not only have we received a number of great reports on your SROs (school resource officer), but the number of citations is up,” commented Wooldridge. “That’s something we like to see as there has been an outcry from the residents about the speeding and reckless driving.”