The Aurora Police Department will purchase new body cameras to replace the previous ones leased through an Arizona-based police tech company, Axon.
The cost for 35 body cameras is $62,862, but the city will offset this cost with a state grant of $55,092, Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin said. After the grant, the purchase will cost the city $7,770.
The funds will be taken from the Capital Improvement Fund, which Aurora City Council authorized for the purchase of these body cameras on May 8.
The purchase of 35 cameras will ensure all active Aurora police officers will be equipped with a new body camera.
Police body cameras are not required by Ohio state law, but the Aurora Police Department has been using them since 2015 and recently decided to take advantage of the state grant funding to purchase new cameras at a reduced price.
“They are a great tool assisting with capturing incidents and other important facts during calls for service,” Police Chief Brian Byard said. “They provide prosecutors and jurors with a clear, detailed account of the incident at hand from the perspective of those individuals involved.”
A major cost factor when purchasing this type of police equipment is the amount of storage within the camera, and how many video files can be held within each body camera before it is deleted.
Typically, police body camera footage is stored in a cloud folder and then deleted after a period of time, Byard said.
To emphasize the importance of these tools, Byard said they have been useful during a few routine encounters to discredit false claims made against officers.
According to Byard, the Aurora Police Department has experienced at least two of these instances.
“Both claims were accusatory toward the officer claiming that the officer said or did something that was not true,” Byard said. “After careful review of the body cam, it was determined that the accusation was completely false.”
“Police body cameras are important tools to protect the officers and public alike in what are often rapidly unfolding emergency situations,” Womer Benjamin said. “The city certainly appreciates the state grant supporting our efforts to acquire new body cameras for the police department.”