Plattsburgh councilors will decide tonight whether to send five city employees to a week-long conference in Orlando.

Police Chief Desmond Racicot has requested that he, three officers and the department's civilian technology expert attend the 117th International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Conference and Exposition from Oct. 21 to 27.

The cost of the trip could be up to $7,804 and will be paid for out of the Asset Forfeiture Fund, which is money taken from drug dealers.

Racicot, who has attended the conference before but not in the past two years, said it has been invaluable in helping the department obtain the latest in technology.

Numerous vendors attend the conference, offering exhibitions on how they can help local police departments with legal issues and equipment.

A few years ago, the city obtained a new communications system at an affordable cost from one of these conferences, Racicot said.

And on Wednesday, police used an alarm system they had obtained from a conference vendor to capture a burglar, he said.

"This conference is huge, and everyone we need to talk to is all under one roof."

At last week's Common Council meeting, councilors questioned the trip, wondering if it was wise to send five people for a week.

Councilor George Rabideau (R-Ward 3) said he was concerned about having four officers out of town while college was in session.

Racicot said the trip will not affect staffing on the street while they are gone, as the attendees are all management personnel.

Councilor Chris Jackson (D-Ward 6) wondered if the five could share rooms to lower the cost, instead of having individual rooms.

Councilor James Calnon (I-Ward 4) said he would support the trip.

"Criminals are using the best technology, and we need to stay current, and this is the place where you find out all the latest," he said.

"We have this money from Asset Forfeiture, and we need to spend it to our best advantage."

MUSIC FESTIVAL

The Common Council will also vote tonight on whether to allow Chris Dumont of the Green Room and Matt Mero of Showtime Gigs Entertainment Co. to host an outdoor music festival from 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28.

Upper Bridge Street, near the Green Room, will need to be closed to serve as the site of the concert.

Mayor Donald Kasprzak said the event will give downtown a boost.

"I am pleased to have an event like this for downtown, as it will bring in people and benefit all merchants."

Tonight's council meeting begins with a work session at 5, followed by the regular meeting at 5:30, both open to the public.

E-mail Joe LoTemplio at: jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com

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