EMERALD ISLE — Town commissioners Tuesday night agreed to upgrade the body cameras worn by the town’s police officers.
The action came as part of the consent agenda, a list of items considered non-controversial that can be approved with one vote. During the meeting, conducted on GoToWebinar, the board approved the consent agenda by a 5-0 vote.
In a memo to the board, Police Chief Tony Reese said the five-year lease of the ProLogic ITS equipment for the body cameras will cost the town $86,432.41.
It includes 25 cameras, accessories, program software, hardware, redaction software, customer and technical assistance and maintenance and software updates. It also adds “cloud storage and internet sharing capabilities, both options not currently available to the department under the old program,” according to the chief. The department formerly leased from the company SoleraTec.
“This improved capability will allow the department to reduce other costs associated with burning copies of videos for the district attorney and evidentiary purposes and permit inspection and sharing of these videos via internet and restricted remote access and viewing capabilities managed and controlled by the department,” he added.
Chief Reese called body cameras “a necessity for law enforcement officers and law enforcement agencies. The body-worn camera is used as a tool for a wide variety of reasons such as documenting citizen or violator contacts, traffic stops, crime scenes.
“Most importantly, it benefits the law enforcement agency and town by recording the interactions of officers and citizens during any given encounter,” he said.
In the two years officers have worn cameras – the SolaraTec lease is in its third and final year – Chief Reese said the cameras have been “invaluable as an independent and unbiased tool … used to prove or disprove any complaints filed against department personnel.”
The town, the chief said, would have considered continuing with SolaraTec, but the company has gone out of business, posing problems such as no customer service support, technological support or equipment maintenance or replacement.
The town’s contracted internet technology specialist researched several options to continue the program and companies demonstrated their products for the department. Chief Reese said the department and the specialist agreed ProLogic ITS was the best choice for what he views as “an immediate need.”
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.