The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON — Members of Huntington City Council will vote Monday on a resolution to digitize criminal records at the city’s police department dating back to the 1980s.

The old records are currently stored on microfilm, which is decaying, said Police Chief Hank Dial. The department’s microfilm reader is also broken.

Council members will also vote on an ordinance to purchase property for a new fire station on 20th Street and an ordinance updating city code regarding employee residency requirements, which were repealed by voters in 2012.

The police department currently has criminal records dating back to the 1980s stored on microfilm. Microfilm are documents reduced to a fraction of their regular sizes, which may by enlarged again on the screen of a microfilm reader.

Dial said the department’s microfilm reader is broken and officers have to go to the Cabell County Library to borrow theirs, which is time consuming.

Council members will vote on a resolution allowing Dial to send the department’s microfilms to AMI Imaging Systems, Inc., in Sunnyvale, California. The company specializes in digitizing old microfilm records, he said.

It’s projected to cost $32,610 for shipping and digitizing the film, which will be paid from the department’s civil forfeiture account. There will then be a yearly cost of $1,750 for maintenance, which will be budgeted in the department’s general fund, Dial said.

It will take about two days to send the records to California, which should not present problems if the department needs to access cold case records or anything like that, Dial said.

“They will have access to it and they can read it from there,” he said. “Actually, it will probably be quicker for us to get them to read it in California than for us to go over and get time at the library ourselves.”

The city is required to keep all records, both misdemeanors and felonies, he said.

Also Monday, council members will vote on the second reading of an ordinance allowing Mayor Steve Williams to purchase vacant property on 9th Avenue for $12,000. The vacant property, owned by Trent Sansom, is adjacent to three parcels of land the city already has control over, said City Attorney Scott Damron. Purchasing the property is necessary to build a new fire station on 20th Street.

Council members will also vote on the second reading of an ordinance to update the city’s code repealing a requirement that city employees must live in Huntington.

The requirement was repealed from the city charter by voters in 2012. Damron said Monday’s vote would make the city’s charter and city code the same.

Travis Crum is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.

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