Purdy City Council buys body cameras, taser

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Total cost less than $3,000 for 2 cameras, taser

The Purdy Police Department will soon add two body cameras and a taser to its arsenal.

Purdy Police Chief Jackie Lowe asked the city council to consider purchasing two of the Action cameras from the Taser Company. Having reviewed several brands, Lowe said Taser seemed to offer the best brand.

"The way things are going, I think you should go ahead and get them," Lowe said.

Lowe observed the major cities of Cleveland and Baltimore use the recommended camera. Alderman Bo Prock said so did Lowell, Ark.

Advantages of the Taser model include recording well in the dark and automatic activation through wiring in the car if the police car's lights are activated, or if the officer leaves the car. Software will identify which officer is on duty and wearing the camera. Officer Russ Nichols said the Action model would record for 12 hours, covering all of an officer's 10-hour shift.

Using a series of magnets, the camera will attach to the officer's uniform at the buttons at chest level. They come with magnets and a charger.

Cost for two cameras is $1,326. The department has three officers, but no more than two working any one shift.

Aldermen had more questions about storing the recordings. Nichols said Purdy would not need Taser's $1,000-a-month option to upload recordings to the Cloud on Evidence.com. He thought the city could purchase a separate Terabyte hard drive or two for $50 o $100 that would hold whatever the city needed to store.

"We've only used a car video a couple times in court," Nichols said.

Aldermen also responded positively to Lowe's request to purchase a taser. Lowe said the department has pepper spray and batons now, and a taser would offer one more non-lethal tool.

Lowe and Nichols and Reserve Officer Jon Egleston had already been certified in the use of a taser. In close range situations, training would not be critical.

The choice was between the single charge or double charge models, the latter requiring no reloading. The single charge model comes with two charges each of the 15-foot and 25-foot ranges. The double charges come with four charges at each range. Officers preferred the double charge, as did aldermen, for $1,613.60, almost $280 more in price. Cartridges had a shelf life of three years. The unit comes with a holster and a battery pack.

Nichols said the city only needed one taser. The device offers several warning options, including a red light and an arcing option to show what could happen next, both of which could deter subjects from continuing aggressive behavior.

Nichols reported the cities of Monett, Cassville and Seligman use tasers, as well as the Barry County Sheriff's Office. The Taser Company also provides policy models and will assist departments in court facing litigation if the devices were used properly.

"It's a way better option than a bullet," said Alderman Wayne Rupp.

Following approval of the purchase, Prock added, "Merry Christmas, boys."

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