City OK’s contracts for new cameras

Columbus Board of Works members approved new contracts with Axon, of Scottsdale, Arizona, to provide new body cameras for Columbus police officers for the next five years.

The city is also adding new in-car cameras in 23 police vehicles, which activate when officers use their overhead warning lights.

The five-year cost for the body cameras is $406,767, with the biggest portion of that to pay for data storage and synching with the police department’s computer system.

Cost for in-car cameras is $161,2015, with 11 cars being outfitted with 2017 budget funds and another 12 being updated with 2018 funds.

The city did not use the bidding process to select Axon, saying it met the exception rule in Indiana law allowing the city to accept a quote from the company.

Columbus implemented the use of body cameras in 2015, anticipating that the current cameras would last three years, Columbus Police Chief Jon Rohde said.

The police department has budgeted the cost of the body cameras to be paid over the next five years, with the company replacing hardware on the cameras at the 30-month mark and again at the five-year mark if the city continues with its contract, Rohde said.

The contract allows the city to end its agreement with Axon upon request at any time within the five years, he said.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.