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Public Safety Committee Passes Recommendation for Body-Worn Cameras, Helicopter Lights Purchases

Published on Thursday, April 18, 2024 | 6:09 am

The Public Safety Committee unanimously approved a motion that would allow the police department to purchase new body-worn cameras that would provide more accountability to the department.

Under the new five-year contract with Axon Enterprises, the City would enter into two contracts for tasers and body-worn cameras, add three new products, and upgrade two products.

The new products would include the Axon Signal Sidearm. This product includes a sensor that attaches to the officer’s firearm and holster.

After a critical incident, the City is required to release footage within 45 days, The new signal sidearm technology would guarantee that cameras are rolling during officer-involved shootings.

In 2022, an officer’s camera was not on during the fatal officer-involved shooting of Anthony McClain near La Pintoresca Park on Raymond Avenue.

Activists called for the officer to be disciplined for violating the department’s body-worn camera policy.

The new cameras would guarantee that cameras are on during critical incidents and provide more transparency after the incidents occur.

Despite the additional layer of accountability some community members still spoke in opposition of the technology,

“I just want to just note how easy it is for you all to find and approve over $3 million, $4 million in general fund to continually arm PPD. But where is this funding when it comes to the community?” said Adriana Bautista.

The department is not requesting to buy weapons.

The sensor signals the primary user’s body-worn camera and other nearby cameras within about 20 feet to begin recording once the officer removes his service revolver.

If approved, the department would also purchase Axon Performance, a software program that provides analytics and a dashboard of body-worn camera and taser metrics. Those metrics are activations, categorization of recordings, and calls for service and how they’re related, according to Executive Administrator Karen Peterson.

The department would also purchase Axon Respond Plus, a feature that works with the body-worn camera.

The feature enables law enforcement officials to collaborate and make informed decisions by integrating the live location data of the officer or the device, which is through GPS. A real-time alert from an officer or the user’s body-worn camera.

The feature also allows others to view livestream video which could provide a complete picture of an evolving situation, Peterson said.

The department would also update its body-worn cameras and taser systems. The new cameras provide better optics with an upgraded sensor and a wider field of view.

The department is also looking to purchase three Trakkabeam TL360 Helicopter Searchlights. The searchlights will use LED-style lights and are instant-on and instant-off, allowing them to be turned off once they are no longer needed, reducing light pollution. They can also illuminate an area with infrared (IR) light, allowing the crews to use their night vision goggles to take advantage of the searchlight IR illumination without having to actually project any visible light on the area.

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