The Huntsville Police Department will be more efficient keeping an eye on the community in coming months, as the City Council on Tuesday agreed to update video equipment for patrol vehicles.

“Just short of their guns, these video recorders are one of the most important tools out there for law enforcement,” said Councilman Jack Choate. “They (are skilled) enough to use it as an investigative tool, and I believe they are well used by our officers.”

HPD Lt. Kevin Lunsford presented council with the motion to purchase 10 in-car video systems at a cost of $28,890 from budgeted funds. Part of the money, $13,729, comes from a Justice Assistance Grant, and the remaining $15,161 was already in the HPD vehicle and equipment line budget.

Six of the new units will be installed in new patrol cars recently purchased by the city, while four others will be installed in current patrol cars to replace older units.

“We use these units to report on traffic stops as required by the state racial profiling law,” Lunsford said. “We eventually want to go toward digital systems, but that is cost prohibitive right now.”

The Houston/Galveston Area Council provided a bid list for purchasing the equipment. Lunsford explained HPD confirmed as the Kustom Signal as the lowest bidder. The total cost also includes installation.

Also during Tuesday’s regular session, Mayor J. Turner and council proclaimed Jan. 17, 2006, Mary Frances Park Day in honor of the late local icon.

“This means a lot to the entire community of Huntsville,” he said. “She became a beacon in our community and one of our finest volunteers.”

Following the reading of the proclamation, the entire room stood and applauded Park.

Councilman Steed Smith also was honored for representing the city on the HGAC board for eight years and was commended for distinguished service.

Two items were tabled Tuesday, including a motion to provide funding for a utility line to a proposed affordable housing development and the purchase of property on the southeast corner of 10th Street and Ave. O.

No action was taken in executive session concerning land acquisition for Habitat for Humanity.

Finally, the city will enter into contracts with nonprofit organizations in Huntsville to provide community services. Councilmen Mickey Evans and Bob Tavenner voted against each award.

COME Center — $2,000 for utility bill assistance for needy families

Community Child Care Center — $10,000 for child care for those who financially qualify

Good Shepherd Mission — $5,000 for services

SAAFE House — $5,000 for services

Senior Center of Walker County — $10,000 for Meals on Wheels program and other services

The next City Council meeting is set for Feb. 7 at City Hall, 1212 Avenue M.