Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Southlake’s Commitment to Highest Standards of Safety and Security Visible in Proposed FY 2020 Budget

Maintaining the highest levels of safety and security is one of the City of Southlake’s top priorities. The proposed FY 2020 budget was prepared with the idea of ensuring that strategic investments are made to advance the City’s safety goal. These investments will help further protective measures and policies that reduce danger, risk or injury to all those who live, work or visit Southlake.

A crisis can happen at a moment’s notice, and while the City can’t always prevent a crisis from happening, it can take measures to ensure a feeling of safety and security in Southlake.

“It’s so important to maintain the highest standards of safety, security and protection so our residents are able to enjoy a high quality of life in Southlake,” said City Manager Shana Yelverton. “We always aim to minimize the risk, but if something does happen, we want residents to rest easy knowing we are prepared to handle it.

We have some of the highest trained and accredited professionals watching out for Southlake. I can promise that when they go into a situation they are confident in their decision making and are looking out for the best interest of those involved. This proposed FY 2020 budget is an investment that allows the City to ensure people are living their best possible lives.”

To maintain a high level of public safety, the City is focused on a number of key initiatives for the coming year, including school safety, building services funding, mosquito vector control, providing necessary equipment and training for police and fire personnel’s continued excellence, and funds to upgrade the Emergency Operations Center.

While keeping Southlake safe includes the work of the Police, Fire Department and Emergency Management, it also includes the work of many other City departments. Building inspectors and plan examiners work day after day to ensure the buildings in Southlake are held to the highest building code standards. Public Works maintains infrastructure throughout the City to make sure your water is safe to drink and the roads are safe to drive on. The FY 2020 budget has allocations to help sustain all those efforts.

One priority focus is school safety. This includes funding for maintain school zone flashers and crosswalk striping and the ongoing funding for School Resource Officer Program, of which $1.6 million is allocated in FY 2020. The program places at least one SRO in every Carroll ISD school.

“Keeping our students safe is always a top priority of the Southlake Police Department,” said Police Chief James Brandon. “Our SROs care deeply about the students and school faculty they protect every day. They take tremendous pride in a safe, protected environment where students can focus on learning.”

The Police Department will also purchase equipment such as additional body cameras and replacements for laser radars and tasers for our officers. The Fire Department will also be purchasing not only fire protective gear but will also replace two vehicles in their fleet.

The proposed FY 2020 Vehicle Replacement Fund will allow the Fire Department to replace a 2008 brush truck for $240,000 and a 2007 platform ladder truck for $1.6 million.

The City’s Vehicle Replacement Fund accounts for the resources needed to manage the purchase of vehicles for the City’s fleet. The establishment and funding for the vehicle replacement program was designed to even out expenses for the City’s fleet from year to year and provide a logical method for purchasing and retiring vehicles.

“We’re constantly looking ahead and making sure that when a vehicle is replaced, it’s planned and accounted for,” said Assistant City Manager Alison Ortowski. “The two vehicles being replaced in the Fire Department are more than 10 years old and have served us well.”

The Fire Department will also be making investments in upgrading the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The EOC allows for City emergency personnel to gather in one central location to help mitigate a situation in time of crisis. Having the EOC as up-to-date as possible provides the City with an extra degree of readiness.

“Readiness is about ongoing training and having the equipment and materials we need to get the job done,” said Fire Chief Michael Starr. “The EOC is a great asset that allows us to best manage any incident that comes our way. It brings many resources together and provides what we need to stay focused, confident and use our best judgment when making important decisions that will impact the City in high-stress situations.”

All of the safety and security investments outlined in the proposed FY 2020 budget allow for the City to prepare to be ready for crisis and protect the community while making lives safer. Interested in learning more about other safety and security investments? Visit the City of Southlake website at www.CityofSouthlake.com/FY2020.