HUDSON — City Council will vote at an upcoming meeting to purchase a body camera system for the police department.
Hudson Police Chief Perry Tabak said the police cruisers currently have dashboard and backseat cameras, but officers do not have body cameras now.
"To me, it’s a no-brainer," said Tabak. "I strongly support this project."
Council members on Tuesday thanked Tabak for his work researching the equipment and said they supported the planned purchase.
"I think we’re all eager to get the body cameras going," said Council member Skylar Sutton (Ward 3).
Council member Chris Foster (Ward 2) added he felt the body cameras would be "great" for both police officers and the public.
Tabak told council that the body camera system can be acquired this year, with deferred payments starting in 2021 and continuing for five years. The body camera system will include 24 cameras and cost $198,000. The payments would be $39,600 per year starting in 2021. If council votes to authorize the purchase, the "fully integrated" camera system with both in-car and body cameras would be installed this year, according to Tabak.
"The new system will replace all current [in-car] cameras and will be fully integrated and synchronized," explained Tabak.
Tabak said a camera would be purchased for each of his patrol officers and two spare devices that could be used by other department members, such as detectives. He added he expects that the system can be used for eight years.
The chief said it will cost an additional $10,000 to install equipment in the cruisers for the integrated system this year.
Tabak said he and his staff spent more than year evaluating different cameras and systems, including meeting with vendors and other police departments.
The system the chief wants to buy integrates the body cameras and dashboard cameras into a coordinated system which synchronizes the video playback and automatically records so it does not require turning the cameras on to work, Tabak said. The system will meet records retention requirements and includes storage redundancy to ensure records are kept as required.
When multiple officers on scene all have their in-car and body cameras recording, the system will record video from multiple views.
The use of body cameras will help resolve complaints, prevent false complaints, enhance transparency and officer accountability, identify and address structural and procedural problems within the department, and provide important evidence for investigations, Tabak said. In addition, Tabak noted studies have shown that the use of body cameras reduces the use-of-force incidents and reduces citizen complaints.
"Everyone’s on their best behavior when they know the camera’s running," said Tabak. "That includes officers and the citizens."
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.