Annapolis business leaders and the Police Department have formed an unprecedented partnership to boost services at a time when the department has fallen behind on equipment and training.
The Greater Annapolis Chamber of Commerce announced yesterday that it will act as a clearinghouse to accept business donations of equipment, services and training resources for the police.
During tough economic times "the business community is going to have to do more to support services expected in a community," said Penny Chandler, chamber executive director.
Though the city added police officers in this lean-budget year,previous shortages have left police with out-of-date equipment. The department lacks everything fromcomputers to typewriters to office furniture, Police Chief Hal Robbins said.
"The infrastructure is extremely weak," he said. "You lose out on new technology because people aren't exposed to it. With these donations, we can help improve our quality of services, become more efficient and much more effective."
Chamber officials proposed the clearinghouse after Robbins addressed the group several weeks ago.During that meeting, prompted by a chamber request for more summertime police coverage, the chief noted his agency's need for equipment.
"We thought we could work with businesses to help the chief meet those needs," said Bruce Petersen, chamber president. "The city will benefit, the citizens, the tourists and the Police Department."
So far, Nationwide Insurance has donated three IBM personal computers, valued at $2,500 each; management training courses for officers; office chairs; typewriters; carpeting; and a microfiche system to which officers can transfer paper files.
Officers will be able to file reports via computer now, Robbins said.
"What the chamber has done has brought back to Annapolis something I've said has long been missing," Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins said. "All who live and do business in this city should live as a family. The business people are not here justto make a profit but to share their revenue."