City Attorney Sean Surrisi presented members of the Plymouth Common Council with an ordinance to amend the Personnel Policy regarding electronic communication.
While the city had previously implemented rules for the use of cell phones will working, in 2020 the State of Indiana went to a hands free statute and the city policy hadn’t been updated.
Surrisi told members of the council that according to state statute the only time anyone is permitted to hold and operate a cell phone is to make an emergency call to 911. The updated city policy states, “In compliance with Indiana’s Hands-Free law I.C. 9-21-8-59, any employee driving on city business must refrain from using a cell phone (either personal or City of Plymouth owned) unless it is being used in conjunction with hands free or voice operated technology, or it is being used to call 911 to report a bona fide emergency.”
Several council members had questions including Duane Culp who is a retired Detective from the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department. He a said there are time when officers use their cell phones because they don’t want to put information out over the radio due to the fact that so many people are now listening to scanners.
HR Manager Jen Klingerman said department heads now order new vehicles with the “blue tooth” technology and department heads with city owned vehicles that don’t have the technology have purchased accessories to give their employees the capability of using cell phones hands free.
This was the first reading of the ordinance amendment and the council will consider this and the lateral transfer amendment at their next meeting on September 9th.