It’s your money: paying for Police Department dry cleaning | ParkRecord.com
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It’s your money: paying for Police Department dry cleaning

The Park City Police Department is seeking money in the City Hall budget for dry cleaning services, essentially requesting a taxpayer subsidy that would allow officers to have their uniforms cleaned and pressed without cost to them.

Police Chief Wade Carpenter has asked the Park City Council to set aside $7,000 in the budget for the dry cleaning, part of a list of items Carpenter wants funded.

The Police Department and other City Hall departments recently presented their lists of funding requests, known as budget options, to Mayor Dana Williams and the City Council. The elected officials will formally decide which options to fund when the budget is approved, which is scheduled in June.

The $7,000 request has not drawn a significant amount of attention. According to the list presented to Williams and the City Council, the funding for dry cleaning would restore a cut in the Police Department budget that was instituted in the 2009 fiscal year. Carpenter said the dry cleaning services had traditionally been in the budget before it was dropped in a cost-saving measure. Officers did not abuse the service when it was available, he said.

The dry cleaning had been pegged at up to $10,000 each year at one time, but it was later slashed to $7,000 annually, the police chief said. The City Council then removed the item from the budget altogether.

"That first initial appearance of our officers is important," Carpenter said in an interview.

He said it is traditional among law enforcement agencies to fund cleaning services for uniforms, adding that the officer uniforms worn by the Police Department belong to the department. Officers turn their uniforms in when they leave the force, Carpenter said, and the clothes are then refitted for other officers.

Each officer is assigned two long-sleeve shirts, two short-sleeve shirts, three pairs of pants and one jacket. The clothes are made of a wool blend. Each of the articles of clothing should be dry cleaned, the police chief said. The pants and the shirts each cost $2 to be dry cleaned, according to Carpenter.

The police chief argued that officers, who wear bulletproof vests under their shirts, perspire heavily in their uniforms, saying that the uniforms become "nasty" after a shift in hot weather. An officer could wear a uniform two or three days between cleanings, depending on the weather, Carpenter said. He also contended the uniforms, including the patches, lose more color if they are cleaned in a washing machine.

Some officers currently bring their uniforms to the dry cleaners even without the services being funded by the department, Carpenter said. He did not have a count of the number of officers who pay for their own dry cleaning.

"You can tell which ones are dry cleaned and which ones are not," Carpenter said.

The request for the dry cleaning comes nearly seven months after the Police Department spent upward of $9,000 on new uniforms. The 42 uniforms arrived in early December as Carpenter attempted to create what he considers a more professional police look. The primary change was switching the color of the shirts to dark blue from light blue.

The $7,000 request also was made amid widespread cost-cutting measures throughout the City Hall departments as the elected officials attempt to craft a budget as municipal revenues dwindle.

The mayor and City Councilors are scheduled to continue their talks about the budget on Thursday, with a discussion scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. at the Marsac Building. Topics are expected to include the renovation of the Racquet Club, options to balance the budget and City Hall’s construction projects. A public hearing is scheduled sometime after 6 p.m.


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