Mattawan seeks new police car

MATTAWAN — The Mattawan Village Police Department has been approved to start the bidding process for a new squad car in an effort to keep modernizing the fleet.

The Village Council approved Police Chief Donald VerHage’s request on June 25 to begin looking at bids for a Chevy Impala police vehicle. The Chevy is a move for the department away from the Ford Crown Victoria model. VerHage said the village would receive a better deal, saving approximately $4,000 with the Chevy, and would receive a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty.

With the eventual purchase of a new squad car, the police department will begin switching to a more traditional-looking police vehicle with black-and-white paint. Officers say an instantly recognizable police vehicle is safer.
“I think it’s good to have a police car that looks like a police car,“ VerHage said.

In other news:
The Village Council approved the purchase of new software for the police department. The current software, called Titan, will be updated to a system called DDP Police Services, which about 180 other police agencies in Michigan use.
A memorial service for former Mattawan police officer Scot Beyerstedt will be held at 7 p.m. July 26 in the Mattawan Village Park, where a monument to him stands.

July marks the two-year anniversary of the death of Beyerstedt, who died after a high-speed chase. The 21-year-old and his partner, 29-year-old Scott Hutchins, were chasing a suspect July 25, 2005, when their vehicle spun out of control and crashed into a tree near the intersection of 24th Street and Red Arrow Highway near Mattawan. Beyerstedt was driving and wasn’t wearing a seat belt. He died as a result of his injuries.
The Village Council discussed the progress of the new arsenic-treatment plant, expected to cost about $2 million. The federal government recently lowered the guidelines for arsenic percentage for water from 50 parts per billion gallons to 10 parts per billion gallons. Mattawan’s arsenic percentage is now 12 parts per billion, forcing the need for the new arsenic plant.

Concerns were raised at the June 25 meeting about whether the arsenic plant would be finished in time for a January 2008 compliance deadline. Some council members pointed out that with the bidding process likely to begin Aug. 1, there wouldn’t be enough time for an estimated 330-day plant-construction completion.

Officials assured the council that a running dialog between the village and the Department of Environmental Quality would allow for some breathing room and that the 330 days was not an exact figure.
Village Attorney Scott Graham updated the council on the occupancy state of 14 new trailer units at the Deal Mobile Home Park. Last year, six units in the park were removed and destroyed. At the same time, 14 new trailers were brought in to the area.

Graham recommended that the trailers remain unoccupied until he and a building inspector review whether the trailers are compliant with 1976 U.S. Housing and Urban Development requirements.

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