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Council Tables Vote on New Higher Tech Body-Worn Cameras for Police – For Now

Published on Tuesday, November 30, 2021 | 5:00 am
 

Axon body-worn police cameras shown loaded in a docking station. Police said the docking station charges the units, downloads any captured data and uploads the data to the Pasadena police server, and also updates the camera software as needed by the manufacturer. [Image courtesy of Pasadena Police Dept.]
On Monday, the Pasadena City Council tabled a vote to authorize an amendment to a contract for police body-worn cameras.

The contract with Axon Enterprise to Dec. 1, 2026 would be amended at a cost not-to-exceed $1.7 million for the police department’s body-worn camera system.

The newer version of the body-worn cameras has the capability to automatically activate when a firearm is removed from its holster, which will ensure the body-worn camera is turned on during a critical incident.

However on Monday, questions arose on storage and how long the cameras buffer before they begin filming.

Callers opposed the amendment, but did not seem to understand how the new cameras would work.

The Pasadena Police Department (PPD) initiated a body-worn camera program in 2016.

Currently, the police department deploys 295 of the 313 body-worn camera fleet.

“It’s crazy to me that Pasadena City Council is essentially a group that rubber stamps all these contractor budgets without thinking critically about the benefits of each program,” said one resident in correspondence. “In the case of today’s meeting, you are considering giving Axon an additional $1 million to provide body-worn cameras for the police department. How is that footage used, are videos made available to the public? Do videos get sent to Axon for storage? Is it secure? Are we any safer for spending this money? Are the residents of Pasadena really getting their money’s worth from these programs?”

The department responds to approximately 1,600 requests a year for body-worn camera footage for court and for public records requests.

In many cases, the footage is available to the public via a public records act. The city also releases footage in critical incidents usually well ahead of the 45-day deadline.

Other callers questioned the department’s policy. However, the body-worn camera was not on Monday’s agenda.

The cameras are assigned to both sworn and professional staff department members who routinely come into contact with the public while working in the field.

The Pasadena Police Department’s current inventory consists of the older generation Axon body 2 cameras and corresponding docking charging stations.

Since 2016, the department has uploaded over one million evidentiary items, including videos, voice recordings, documents to Axon Enterprise’s secure, cloud based digital evidence management system platform called Evidence.com, according to a city staff report.

Criminal case video and voice recording evidence have been submitted electronically to the City Prosecutor/District Attorney’s Office for prosecuting cases.

Axon will continue to provide unlimited data storage, new equipment, complete warranty on all hardware and integration with the Department’s Computer Aided Dispatch to automatically tag calls for service with the corresponding video.

According to Axon, the company has greatly improved its technology related to video review to include multi-camera playback and audio transcription that will reduce staff resources to locate video and perform transcription for court and public records requests.

Other items passed on Monday’s consent calendar included:

• A contract with Hinderliter, de Llamas and Associates by increasing the contract amount to $63,000 for five-years to continue sales, transactions and use tax consulting services, subject to annual adjustment not to exceed five percent. In California, there are only two companies that provide these tax audit services and the City has contracts with both companies for different tax related services. Therefore, the staff has working knowledge of the skills and abilities of both companies. The current monthly contract costs have remained unchanged since City Council approval in 2016 and sales and use tax revenue of approximately $898,000 has been recovered by the consultants since that time.

• An $845,001 contract with Dr. Mani H. Zadeh for COVID-19 testing services. The city of Pasadena’s COVID-19 vaccination policy required all employees to be vaccinated by September 17. Employees who are not vaccinated, including those who are partially vaccinated or have an approved medical, disability or religious exemption, are required, as a condition of employment, to be tested for COVID-19 once a week. However, the previous vendor did not meet the city’s expectations and that contract was terminated last week. Dr. Zadeh with LA COVID Testing submitted a proposal that addressed the City’s immediate testing needs for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests, nasal swab and saliva, including its experience providing COVID-19 testing in the Los Angeles area, working with public entities, providing quick turnaround of test results, and offering a software system that provides designated Human Resources staff access to real-time results. According to Monday’s agenda, the City Council has approved the appropriations of $925,000 from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to cover the anticipated cost of COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated employees. To date, $845,001 remains and will be used to continue testing with Dr. Zadeh.

• An amendment to a contract with Michael Baker International Inc. The amendment increases the contract amount by $600,000 to $1,000,000 for continued Environmental Coordination and Planning services, for a three-year term. Environmental clearance is most often administered through the City’s Zoning Administration, but is needed throughout the Division and across all City departments which includes professional planning and case processing services, on an as-needed basis. For example, projects which require oversight of environmental clearance may include infrastructure improvements, private development projects, and upgrades to park facilities. The work program for the environmental review services includes: preparation of environmental clearance documents; preparation of Initial Studies; managing the preparation of Environmental Impact Reports; peer review of CEQA documentation; preparation of staff reports; oral presentation before the City Council, Commissions and other groups as assigned, and other duties related to compliance with environmental clearance.

• An amendment to a purchase order contract with FedEx Office And Print Services Inc. from to February 25, 2022 for small package delivery services. On July 1, 2017, the City Council approved a contract with FedEx Office And Print Services Inc. to provide Citywide, small package delivery services in an amount not-to-exceed $125,000 for a period of two years or until the funds have been expended. The contract was a “piggyback” (i.e. taking advantage of a selection process undertaken by another agency) through the State of Utah National Association of State Procurement Officials ValuePoint (NASPO) cooperative purchasing program with an initial expiration date of November 27. NASPO has extended the current term of the contract to February 25. Departments have unspent funds and there is a continued need for small package delivery services. The pricing through this agreement continues to save the city money. NASPO Contract pricing for a standard overnight 8.5″x11″ envelope shipping to zone two is $9.12 versus $27.48, with a savings of $18.36.

• An amendment to a city agreement with the Pasadena Unified School District to allow the use of Jefferson Elementary for a maximum amount of $600,000. Due to the closure of Central Library in May because of seismic structural concerns, it is necessary for the library to address space needs related to public access for collections browsing, computer centers, community meeting rooms, and special programs. Jefferson Elementary School closed in 2020, and the PUSD has granted permission to the city to use most of the Jefferson Elementary School for six years beginning December 1 through December 1, 2027. The City will operate portions of Jefferson primarily for library services, but also for other city programs, employee training, and other activities for the public. Library services may include housing library collections, providing adult, teen, and children’s services and programs, a computer center, local history archives and resources, public areas for reading and using library materials, programming space, staff office space, and other similar uses.

• A sweep motion also authorized the city manager to enter into a license agreement with Art Center College of Design for use of city fiber, resulting in up to $258,410 in revenue to the city over the initial three-year term of the agreement with two optional one-year terms in the amount of $62,496 per extension, for a maximum term of five years, and revenue up to $383,402. The City Manager could also be authorized to enter into a license agreement with Level 3 Communications, LLC for use of city fiber, resulting in up to $47,410 in revenue to the city over the initial three-year term of the agreement with two optional one-year terms in the amount of $9,736 per extension, for a maximum term of five years, and revenue up to $66,882.

• A contract for an amount not to exceed $640,000, which includes the base contract amount of $577,400 and a contingency of $62,600 to provide for any necessary change orders with CJ Construction. A curb ramp provides an accessible route for pedestrians with disabilities to safely transition from a roadway to a curbed sidewalk and vice versa. Curb ramps are upgraded as part of various street improvement projects, as well as private development and utility permits to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. In order to enhance pedestrian accessibility citywide, staff completed an inventory in 2019 of all street intersections to determine locations in need of a curb ramp. There are approximately 700 locations without a curb ramp out of the 800 locations identified in 2019, causing non-ambulatory pedestrians to find alternate routes through intersections. Installation of missing curb ramps will be prioritized along mobility corridors and around commercial/business districts where pedestrian volume is relatively high.

• Adopt a resolution to approve filing of applications for Measure A annual allocations with the Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District. In Nov. 2016, LA County voters approved Measure A, which authorizes dedicated local funding for parks, recreation and open space projects and their maintenance through an annual special tax of 2.5 cents per square foot of building floor area on all taxable real property in the county. Annual allocations of Measure A are distributed by Los Angeles County and Regional Park and Open Space District based on a per capita formula. Pasadena is assessed in two regions,the Eastside and the Westside. The city will receive $557,500 that can be used for design and construction of capitol park projects as well as refurbishment or expansion of current parks.

• Amendments to the Fiscal Year 2022 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Budget. Throughout the Fiscal Year (FY), the Department of Public Works in conjunction with other impacted departments review active CIP projects to determine if budgetary changes are needed. Amendments include: Fire stations renovations and improvements, curb ramp ADA improvements program, guardrail improvement program, La Pintoresca park improvements, Pasadena Bicycle Program FY 2021-2025 and the Pasadena Wayfinding System.

• The quarterly investment report ending Sept. 30. The treasurer or chief fiscal officer (CFO) may render a quarterly report to the legislative body of the local agency containing detailed information on all securities, investments, and moneys of the local agency, a statement of compliance of the portfolio with the statement of investment policy and a statement of the local agency’s ability to meet its pool’s expenditure requirements for the next six-months. By making these reports optional, this bill does not impose a state-mandated local program, however encourages local agencies to continue to report. The bill also states that the treasurer or CFO may report whatever additional information or data may be required by the legislative body of the local agency.

• Recognize revenue and appropriate $43,434 from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant fund to the police department’s fiscal year 2022 operating budget. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Fiscal Year 2021 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) award solicitation offers an opportunity for the Pasadena Police Department to receive a maximum of $43,434 in grant funding to further “the department’s mission by assisting state, local, and tribal law enforcement efforts to prevent or reduce crime and violence.” The amount is based on a statutory formula which is based on the unit of local government’s proportion of the state’s 3-year violent crime average.

• Recognize revenue and appropriate $92,500 of a $125,000 two year Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act program grant funds to the police department’s fiscal year 2022 operating budget. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act (LEMHWA) Program funds are used to improve the delivery of and access to mental health and wellness services for law enforcement through the implementation of peer support, training, family resources, suicide prevention, and other promising practices for wellness programs. The FY21 LEMHWA program will fund projects that develop knowledge; increase awareness of effective mental health and wellness strategies; increase the skills and abilities of law enforcement; and increase the number of law enforcement agencies and relevant stakeholders using peer support, training, family resources, suicide prevention, and other promising practices for wellness programs.

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