City gets officers to patrol housing

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By David Giuliani

The housing authority has started paying city police officers to patrol public housing subdivisions.

The officers are being paid from authority funds, and the patrols are separate from their regular duties.

At last week’s City Council meeting, Lori Gonzales, the authority’s interim director, reported that the security program began Oct. 3 and the officers have patrolled a total of 69 hours. They have responded to 45 calls and have submitted five reports to the Police Department, she said.

Gonzales said the authority is looking into installing new surveillance cameras.

The authority decided to contract with the officers not long after landlords of private apartments near public housing complained about crime connected with authority residents.

The authority is improving its system for background checks of residents, Gonzales said.

In other developments, Jeff Lowry of Lowry Consultants told the City Council that a project to replace the roofing of 21 buildings in the authority was 90 percent complete. He said the contractor expects to finish the work by mid-November.

He also said the authority will start a project to remove asbestos from nine housing units.

That work has to be completed before the authority moves ahead with renovating those units.