Paradise Valley police cars will be getting new cameras after the Town Council unanimously approved the purchase of 12 mobile video camera systems and cloud storage for about $110,000.
Council gave its approval of the five-year master services and purchasing agreement with Axon Enterprise, Inc. at its Nov. 7 meeting. The item was originally part of the consent agenda but was removed at the request of Councilmember Paul Dembow.
The upgrade comes as the Paradise Valley Police Department says its cameras are outdated and no longer work properly. The departments states its officers need functioning cameras for their investigations.
In response to this need, PVPD says Axon Fleet allows for evidence to go into the same database as the body camera systems and the interview rooms. In turn, this allows the department’s redaction specialist to use the same system for all of the department’s videos.
The camera systems will go on 12 fully marked patrol vehicles with each car supporting two cameras. One camera will point toward the front of the vehicle while the other will face the rear seat. As part of the five-year agreement, Axon will provide support over the five-year term.
Paradise Valley Police Chief Peter Wingert said he sees several benefits to using the cameras in police work.
“Video cameras are a public expectation for law enforcement to provide evidence for court purposes, document use-of-force incidents and provide public transparency into the actions of law enforcement officers,” he said via email.
A report to council states the purchase is competition impracticable, meaning compliance with state or county competitive purchasing statutes is impracticable, unnecessary or contrary to public interest.
PVPD says this is the case because no other vendor can tie into evidence.com, which is what the town uses for its other video surveillance recordings.
Town staff anticipate the installation and training of the new camera and systems to be completed by December.
Mr. Dembow took the chance express his support for the cameras and what he saw as the benefits of the system.
“It’s so nice to have that verification when other police forces sometimes are not wanting to have that video of themselves out there in public,” he said.
“Not only do we want it on our police but on our cars so that we can really capture all that data so you can combat when somebody comes with a claim that is a false claim. I cannot tell you how thrilled I was when we approved it the first time and I’m very happy we’re upgrading the cameras to give you [the police] that extra level of protection for you guys like you protect us.”