BY ASHLEY D. THOMAS
An additional 50 body cameras have been requested by the Daytona Beach Police Department to the City of Daytona Beach. The Axon Flex body cameras used by law enforcement total $204,103 including associated mounting hardware, camera docking stations, hosted software service, data storage and hardware maintenance from Taser International. The expense will be spread over a five-year period.
Currently 50 officers are assigned with the 2.5-inch cameras. Approval will bring the number to 100 – almost half of the 231 sworn officers on the force.
Cameras for all
“Eventually the chief (Michael Chitwood) would like to have every police officer with the Daytona Beach Police Department equipped with a body camera. Now is that going to happen? We don’t know, but we would love to have that,” DBPD Public Information Officer Jimmie Flynt said in an interview with the Daytona Times.
Funding for the “bodycams” come from seized drug money. Such funds can go toward these cameras or other technology.
The Axon website boasts several features of the cameras, including a 130-degree lens which “provides a greater field of view, letting officers capture more of what they experienced,” a pre-event video buffer yielding “the greatest reduction in complaints and lawsuits when actions leading up to the incidents are recorded,” a full shift battery lasting 12 hours, and the “improved behavior of all parties during police interaction.”
Another request to be heard from the DBPD heard at the meeting is to add ten officers at $800,000.
Unmarked vehicle request
Additionally. a resolution heard by the City Commission requesting the authorization of the rental of ten unmarked vehicles for the undercover unit of the DBPD was also expected pass at Wednesday night’s commission meeting.
The total cost of the request for the vehicles would not exceed $75,000 annually or $625 per month per vehicle from Enterprise Leasing Company of Orlando LLC.
In a memorandum from Chitwood to City Manager James Chisholm, Chitwood asserts that the Police Department “piggyback” off the Seminole County Sheriff’s Department preferred rate.
The maximum rate of $625 per month per vehicle includes coverage of all maintenance from October 2014 through September 2016. Either party may terminate early following 30 days written notice.
Chitwood says in the memorandum that Enterprise was selected because they are the only rental car company contracted by Seminole County that will comply with the confidentiality requirements of the vehicles, and that two other leasing companies contacted did not offer the short-term rental required.
According to the rate agreement proposed by Enterprise, vehicles available for rental include such models as the Dodge Charger, Honda Civic and Hyundai Sonata.