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Westover, W.Va., Approves New Body Camera Software

The police department was given the green light from the city council to purchase Axon body camera software. This new system will increase officer accountability by requiring approval to delete footage.

by Gabriella Brown, The Dominion Post / March 2, 2021

(TNS) — Westover city council unanimously voted to approve a new, Axon body camera software system for the Westover police force during Monday night's Westover City Council meeting.

"I want to make it as seamless as possible for the officer and the integrity of the citizen, " said Joe Adams, Westover chief of police. "Right now, the officer has to take the camera off, hook a cable up to the computer, and he has control where it goes and what happens to it." The software system would include docking stations for charging and evidence offload. When each officer attaches their body camera to the docking station, it will automatically charge and download all data to an off-site location for storage.

With this system, Adams said officers would have less control over what happens with their body camera footage. In instances where an officer feels footage should be deleted, a letter would be written to the chief of police for review. The five year contract would include up to two terabytes of data each year. If more storage is needed, additional space can be purchased for $480 per terabyte. The total cost of this system is $39,987.

Council also unanimously approved the second reading and adoption to amend and reenact articles 1711.02 (b) and 1711.07. These ordinances include additional requirements for building permits, such as requiring plans certified by a qualified design professional and independent inspection reports. During the first reading of the ordinances, council members agreed the wording was too vague, making it unclear who or what situations the additional requirements applied to. Changes were made, and the ordinance now states the applicant of the permit is responsible for providing inspection reports as required by the building code at the cost of said applicant.

Roadway projects City attorney Tim Stanko said the city's engineer has met with contractors regarding construction on Solomon Road, a roadway recently annexed by Westover. Equipment will be deployed this week to begin initial construction, including culvert placement and drainage. Widening, shoulder repair and laying of asphalt will begin once drainage issues are addressed. Stranko said the city is optimistic the project will be completed by mid-April.

"The reason we are able to do this is because the fiscal strength this council has built over the last eight years through the hard work we have done, " Stranko said.

Repairs regarding Holland Avenue were also discussed. Stranko said the city often receives complaints about the condition of the road, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Division of Highways. Stranko said the city is hoping to work alongside the DOH to address these concerns.

Due to the age of the road, the first steps in addressing necessary construction is to investigate what type of infrastructure is underneath the roadway, and discuss what responsibilities the city holds in the project.

"We had great luck partnering with the DOH on the Soloman Road project, " Stranko said. "We are optimistic we will be able to partner with them and others as we go forward trying to fix the Holland Road Problem."

Other Business The first reading of an ordinance to annex an area adjacent to the city was unanimously approved. The parcel is owned by Clifford Sutherland, co-owner of Triple S Harley-Davidson, and is approximately 4,133 square feet. Changes to article 141.01 were unanimously approved, which reduces the number of people on the planning commission from nine members to seven. Bids to replace a code enforcement vehicle were also discussed. The cheapest bid for about $23,100 from C. Harper was unanimously approved.

©2021 The Dominion Post, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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