The Auburn City Council unanimously approved a $1.5 million contract on an integrated system for the Auburn Police Division’s camera and equipment technology at its Tuesday night meeting.
The $1.5 million dollar contract with Axon Enterprise, Inc., would amount to a 5-year deal paying about $305,000 annually with some equipment being replaced after three years according to the resolution, though the city manager said the cost wasn’t as bad as it looks.
“We’re absorbing the vast majority of [the cost] in the existing budget,” Auburn City Manager Megan McGowen Crouch said. “We already have a lot of these expenses, so these aren’t new expenses. We’re just shifting from other vendors and things we were doing. After year one, we’ll analyze, and if we have to supplement, it would be a small amount and we would add that to the police [budget].”
The integrated system would include improvements to the Auburn Police Division’s in-car cameras, body worn cameras, camera equipped tasers, virtual reality training simulator, digital evidence management, live view capabilities and cloud storage for digital evidence, according to the resolution.
Auburn Public Safety Director Paul Register said the improvements would enhance the police division’s ability to meet the expectations of the public in terms of public safety through better technology and training for the division’s officers, an improved ability to respond to emergencies and a better capability of collecting evidence to prepare for court cases.
“The current system has provided the bare-minimum capabilities that we’ve needed over the years,” Register said. “What this option will provide for us is an ability for us to have body-worn cameras, car cameras … and all of this would be integrated so these systems will be able to talk to each other. Additionally we’ll have live view during critical events, where command staff will be able to see literally what is going on at the moment it happens and more critically, a training component.”
Ward 8 Councilmember and Former Chief of Police Tommy Dawson said he was excited about the new camera system and technological improvements to Auburn’s police and said it would “put us right up there with the bigger cities.”
“I think it’s great for officer safety as well as liability issues,” Dawson said. “I’m just really excited to hear we’re getting something like this.”