Palm Bay Deputy Mayor Kenny Johnson announced the Council’s unanimous approval the funding, and approval of ‘body cams’ for the Palm Bay Police Department. The motion was made by Deputy Mayor Johnson, and seconded by Councilman Randy Foster, who is a retired US Martial.
Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey’s office is the only agency against body cams in Brevard County.
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The Police Department continually seeks to expand upon its mission to Connect-Serve-Impact the community in a positive manner. In an effort to increase accountability and provide transparency between law enforcement and the citizens of Palm Bay, the Department is seeking to create a Body Worn Camera Program.
The Program will involve a full implementation of 151 Axon Body 3-NA10 units along with the associated hardware and licensing to properly store the footage per public records standards. The cameras will be issued to Patrol personnel, School Resource Officers, and other specialty sworn personnel on an as-need basis. By utilizing the pricing from the Sourcewell Contract #010720-AXN, the total 5-year (valid through February 21, 2024) contracted price for the program is $1,634,730.36. This quote is valid through August 15, 2021 as long as the agreement is executed by that date.
The Police Department conducted trial periods of multiple body camera vendors over trial periods to evaluate the efficiency, quality, and reliability of the equipment and corresponding services for a body camera program. Staff determined the Axon body cameras and digital storage processes best met the needs of the City.
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The implementation of a Body Worn Camera program will require additional civilian personnel to handle the administration of video storage and public records requests that are associated with it. The Police Records Unit processes all police reports and traffic citations to include in-depth review for accuracy and completion, prepares case documentation for use in legal proceedings, and serves as the primary point-of-contact for public records requests for the Department. With officer body camera footage becoming available as potential additional evidence during court proceedings, there will be an increased need for personnel to maintain the Unit’s current level of service while handling the influx of requests for body camera footage. To accommodate additional public records requests related to body cams, the Department is requesting to create an additional FTE/ position of Records Specialist, to be funded by the General Fund beginning FY 2022, October 1.
Additionally, the Material Management Unit which includes the Property & Evidence Section will be charged with the administrative oversight of the body camera footage. The Unit will be required to ensure all footage submissions are properly associated to corresponding reports and stored per regulations. The Unit will also serve as the primary point-of-contact for submissions and requests to and from the State Attorney’s Office related to the body camera program. The Property & Evidence section is currently only staffed by three (3) civilian personnel who maintain over 116,000 pieces of evidence. The additional workload created by a Body Worn Camera program will necessitate an additional FTE/position of Materials Management Technician, to be funded by the General Fund beginning FY 2022, October 1.