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EPD using grant funds for computer, exercise equipment

by Tia Lyons | May 9, 2021 at 11:57 p.m.

The El Dorado Police Department has received the approval it needs to move forward with a request to use grant funds to purchase a total of $26,522 worth of new computer and exercise equipment for EPD headquarters.

During a regular meeting on May 6, the El Dorado City Council authorized the expenditures, which were presented by police Chief Kenny Hickman.

Hickman said federal grants will cover “100%” of the costs to replace obsolete computer software and devices for the Criminal Investigative Division and old exercise equipment in the EPD’s workout room.

The CID computer equipment is used for data forensics that assists detectives in investigations and comes in at a cost of $10,262, Hickman told city council members.

“The detective division has had the same device, the same software program. It’s a sole source because you have to be licensed and certified to use it,” he explained.

“They’ve had one in the past but as technology has gone, basically, what they possess is becoming obsolete, quickly,” Hickman continued.

For his second request, Hickman not only asked council members for a purchase authorization, but he also asked them to waive the competitive bidding process.

The police chief explained there are no local suppliers for the exercise equipment, adding that he asked officers who were seeking quotes for the project to “get me the best deal they could get.”

Hickman said the majority of the EPD’s exercise equipment was donated and over the years, it has become worn and fallen into a state of disrepair.

He said the EPD is looking to refit its workout room with several pieces of cardiovascular and weight-lifting equipment.

Hickman told council members that young officers who have been hired in recent years have helped to shift the physical fitness culture at the EPD and have inspired veteran officers to get into better shape.

Officers who worked on the project — one of whom is a championship, competitive bodybuilder who has previously owned commercial gyms — to refit the EPD gym pinned down two online vendors.

Hickman presented quotes from Fitness Superstore, which is located in Texas, and the California-based Online Discount Fitness, LLC.

Hickman said the total cost for the new exercise equipment came to $16,260.

The cardio equipment will be supplied by Fitness Superstore for $3,950 and the weight-training equipment will come from Discount Online Fitness for $12,310.

“We want to be good stewards of the money. It is grant money but we want to do the best we can with it,” he said.

In accordance with Arkansas Code 14-58-303, which permits the city to waive competitive bidding at certain times — in this case, the lack of a local vendor —, council members adopted an ordinance waiving the process and authorized the city to execute a contract with Discount Online Fitness.

Council members also suspended the rules by pressing forward with three readings and the adoption of the ordinance in one session.

They also instituted an emergency clause so that the ordinance would be effective immediately.

New ordinances typically go into effect 30 days after they are adopted.


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