City spends $2.5 million on more cop cameras The Chandler Arizonan

City spends $2.5 million on more cop cameras

December 15th, 2020 Chandler Arizona Staff
City spends $2.5 million on more cop cameras
City News


Chandler Police have spent $2.5 million to equip more of its officers with body cameras.

A contract with Axon Enterprise, the nation’s leading manufacturer for cameras utilized by law enforcement, was authorized by the City Council last month for 334 new cameras for the city’s officers. The contract will be paid out over a five-year period.

Chandler first started equipping officers with body cameras in 2015 after several civil protests erupted across the country that demanded for more accountability from law enforcement.

Chief Sean Duggan said body cameras have proven useful over the last five years and many officers have been requesting an expansion of the program.

The city initially purchased 260 cameras for patrol officers to record their daily interactions with civilians. The extra cameras obtained through the city’s new contract will allow all officers to have access to the technology, Duggan said.

The cameras have helped officers gather evidence related to criminal investigations, the chief said, and assisted in resolving civilian complaints made against personnel.

“Not only are we acting more efficiently but we’re also being more accountable and we’re demonstrating to our public that we’re holding ourselves to highest practices in policing,” Duggan said.

Body cameras have protected the city from potential lawsuits, the chief added, with their ability to record footage in real time and verify the testimony of officers.

But the cameras have also helped the agency police itself by capturing moments of officers not always upholding Chandler’s professional standards.   

“In a few instances, our officers have responded and acted inappropriately and in those incidents those officers were held accountable,” Duggan added.

The city has a panel of 15 civilians that regularly reviews body-camera footage and advises the agency on use-of-force incidents involving officers.

During the panel’s September meeting, civilians probed investigators about an incident where an officer’s camera hadn’t been turned on when a suspect attempted to evade custody by slipping off their handcuffs.

Chandler Police explained the officer didn’t have enough time to reactivate their camera after placing the suspect in a patrol car.

The Axon contract will also permit clerks and forensic technicians to have access to the evidence databases where digital files are uploaded from cameras.

Officers upload their video footage at the end of each shift and Axon’s database allows for the agency to securely share files with other agencies. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office routinely watches the city’s body-camera footage when prosecutors make decisions about charging suspects.

The city said contracting with Axon to house its digital footage has helped Chandler save money from providing the infrastructure needed to catalog thousands of video files.

A new feature of the Axon contract allows officers to give civilians access for uploading pictures and videos into the Axon database that may be related to an investigation.

Duggan said this new facet will curb the time officers spend traveling back and forth to a witness’s home to collect digital evidence.

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