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By Tony Ault
Staff Writer 

Murrieta City Council approves body-worn camera vendor agreement

 

Last updated 1/24/2019 at 9:36pm



The details of a Murrieta Police Department request for new body-worn cameras for all line officers to wear on patrol are being formulated by the department after winning tentative approval of the Murrieta City Council Jan. 15.

City Councilman Jonathan Ingram said the proposal will come back to the council for final approval soon.

The request made by Murrieta Police Capt. Rob Firmes and approved by Chief Sean Hadden asked for Axon’s Evidence.com body-worn cameras as the best choice for the program. The department has been using several different body-worn cameras for 14-months to study their effectiveness and found it to be the best practice to the Murrieta Police and other police agencies that “embrace community-oriented policing and transparency.”

The cameras were worn by selected sworn officers in the 14-month test period. Those officers were members of a committee formed in 2017. Their job was to evaluate the various vendor cameras in the field in an effort to identify the unit which would meet the departments’ needs and expectations, according to the report.

The body-worn camera program was earlier identified as the best practice for Murrieta’s community-oriented police departments. The use of body-worn camera videos to capture the actions of police officers on the job that has had a positive effect on prosecution efforts by the District Attorney’s Office, jurors, judges and prosecutors. It showed how the department’s officers consistently exhibited professional behavior in their law enforcement duties.

They also gave administrative officers the ability to review critical and high-profile incidents that clarify the police actions that had been taken by personal recording devices that sometimes are taken out of context or capture only part of the encounter.

During the 14-month trial period, the officers used the systems of Axon Evidence, GoPro Intrensic and Lenslock. Each system provided two main components to their systems; hardware and software.

At the conclusion of trials, the committee recommended the selection of Axon’s Evidence.com. The reason for the recommendation centered on the company’s exceptional video and audio quality, superior battery life, simple operation with no delay when activated, user-friendly and highly customized digital management software, mobile application for tagging an uploading evidence in the field and secure chain of custody and sharing of digital evidence with the district attorney’s office and other agencies.

The report said that although formal pricing negotiation have yet to begin, the initial Axon Evidence quote based on a five-year agreement includes a five-year agreement will be $193,671. Subsequent annual software costs are quoted at $102,852. The annual average total cost estimate is $121,016 for the term of the agreement.

The final report will be returned to the council once completed in one of the upcoming council meetings.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at [email protected]

 

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