Correction: this story in the print edition states that the body cameras and tasers will be paid for without taxpayer funds, but the items are in the city’s police budget and will be paid for by city taxpayers.
Every Mebane Police officer will soon be equipped with a body camera, following the Mebane City Council’s approval of the department’s request to use Axon Enterprise, Inc. as its sole source vendor for the cameras.
The Mebane Police Department will equip all its officers with body cameras. These cameras have increasingly become common over the past few years, and officers wearing them provide benefits to both the officers themselves and the citizens they deal with.
Mebane Police Chief Terry Caldwell noted that although all the cameras would be obtained initially, their cost would be spread out over five years. The total cost is listed as $374,050, with the city paying $39,880 in fiscal year 2021, $77,973 in fiscal year 2022 and $85,399 in fiscal years 2023, 2024 and 2025.
The cameras were included in the police budget for FY 2022, but the department needed approval from the council last week to make Axon its sole vendor for the body cameras.
Axon Enterprise will be the city’s sole source vendor of law enforcement body cameras and Compliance Tasers. Axon Enterprise is an American company which specializes in developing technology and weapons products for the military, law enforcement and civilians.
As part of the contract between Axon and the city, the department will receive the company’s most current body camera and taser technology as soon as its available over the next seven years
In addition to providing the body cameras themselves, the footage and data recorded on those cameras will be stored by Axon Enterprise, as well.
The policy for public release of body camera footage will be identical to the policy for releasing dash camera footage to the public.
The Mebane Police Department will also be adding dual purpose police canines and purchasing more firearms with funds from the Alamance Narcotics Enforcement Team (ANET) asset forfeiture fund. Those funds come from the United States Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture Fund (AFF), which aids local police departments in their efforts.
The two dual purpose canines will cost $30,755.70, and this includes equipment, handler training and kennel costs. The firearms will cost $23,626.51, and this includes 15 Smith and Wesson M-P 15 Patrol rifles, 20 Benelli SuperNova Comfortech 12ga Shotguns and 29 Vortex Crossfire Red Dot Optics.
Next week, the Mebane Enterprise will talk with the Mebane Police Department in a story about what adding body cameras means for the department and the city’s residents.