Council approves new body camera contract

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by Terry Rogers

On Monday, July 13, Milford City Council approved a new contract for police body cameras. The contract with Axom Enterprises will cost the City $191,904.32 over the next five years.

“What this will do is upgrade what we have,” Chief Kenneth Brown said. “Really, our biggest issues are the storage of video. You have to understand that each officer had a body camera and a car camera. Because we must store the video for so long, we were constantly paying extra to store the video. With this new contract, we not only get new cameras for the vehicles and the officers, we also get unlimited storage so we are no longer paying those overage fees.”

Chief Brown explained that the program was not really changing and that it would be the same as it had been for the last four years when the cameras were implemented. He stated that the cameras had helped his department significantly over the past four years.

“This has cut down on a lot of civilian complaints,” Chief Brown said. “We really never had a lot of complaints, maybe 20 a year but now they are down to almost zero. I had one gentleman call and complain that he had been stopped for no reason. The officer told him he had seen him weaving but the gentleman said he had not been drinking. He claimed the officer was mad because he had successfully fought a ticket against him in court. I asked him to come into my office, pulled up the car camera from that night and let him see it. After seeing the video, the gentleman told me he wanted to apologize to that officer as it was clear he was weaving. He had just left Royal Farms and he may have been eating or something, but he was clearly not driving straight.”

Chief Brown stated that the officers love having the cameras as they feel they protect them as well as the people they are interacting with. He explained that since they body cameras have been in place, he has not found an incident where the officer did something wrong.

“The only negative to them is the administrative portion,” Chief Brown said. “We get a lot of FOIA requests, especially after accidents. If there are three or four officers out there, you have to provide all the body and vehicle cameras. If there are other people in the video, you may have to blur them for privacy reasons. It is really time consuming.”

The new contract with Axon will cost $16,785.92 the first year as the department received a credit for the portion of the contract they had not used. Years two through five will cost the City $43.779.60 per year. Council approved the contract with a vote of 7 to 0.