The Dadeville City Council voted to spend $13,768 of its American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding on two thermal imagers for its police department Tuesday, at the request of police chief Jonathan Floyd.
Thermal imagers, infrared cameras that pick up heat, can be used in law enforcement for fugitive searches, surveillance, search and rescue and evidence retrieval, as recently disturbed objects may retain body heat from the person handling them.
The devices purchased for Dadeville Police Department will be handheld, said Floyd, who emphasized their utility as search-and-rescue tools.
"What you need to know is that if we have a lost child, if we have a disoriented elderly person, when we're on the move in wooded areas, it will allow us to pick up body heat, the thermal images," he said. "It's just a life-saving tool that we desperately need."
All five councilmembers voted in favor of the purchase in a meeting presided over by councilmember Teneeshia Goodman-Johnson. Dadeville mayor Jimmy "Frank" Goodman was absent and in quarantine for COVID-19 exposure, Goodman-Johnson said.
While the thermal imagers will be purchased with federal ARP funding, Dadeville is also drafting its budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year with the current spending proposal exceeding projected revenue. Goodman-Johnson asked councilmembers to review the draft and look for ways to balance the budget.
"If there's something that we can trim, if there's something that can stand to wait a little while, then maybe that's what we need to do," she said.
The city council has until the end of September to finalize its 2021-2022 budget, which will be available for inspection at Dadeville City Hall.